Medical volunteer work programs are available in several African countries for those who want to volunteer in Africa. Regardless of whether you want to be an overseas hospital volunteer or help out in some other capacity, people will work with you to find a medical placement that suits your level of experience. Most programs have medical volunteering placements which suit people of all levels of qualification and experience. Rest assured that no matter what your skills are, there is a place for you out there to do medical volunteer work in Africa.
Requirements For Medical Volunteering
Medical volunteers who want to volunteer in Africa do not need to have prior experience or medical training. All age groups as well as skilled and unskilled individuals are welcome to apply.
However, it is best to keep in mind that those overseas hospital volunteers or other medical volunteers who lack prior medical training or experience may be limited in the duties they are permitted to perform and must work under supervision.
The medical volunteering programs provide fantastic learning opportunities for premeds, public health students, medical students, nursing students and others studying health related subjects. It is an educational opportunity quite unlike any you will receive elsewhere.
Health volunteering programs increase student’s medical knowledge as well as their clinical skills, and give these students an opportunity to learn first hand about African health problems including HIV and AIDS.
Roles of Medical Health Volunteers
Overseas hospital volunteers work with local doctors in the areas of HIV/AIDS, public health, and general medicine. Students work one on one and shadow doctors in local hospitals and small community clinics.
Qualified doctors and nurses are permitted to diagnose and treat diseases. They are also able to stitch and dress wounds, perform physical examinations, give fluids, and do other minor surgical procedures like circumcision.
Medical health volunteers in Africa also help in prioritizing patients in clinics and hospitals. Others aid in home based care support programs especially in the areas of HIV/AIDS and hospice volunteer work.
Medical student volunteers and doctors can interact with patients and also enter operating theaters to observe surgical procedures. Volunteers are present during examination, diagnosis, and treatment. Female volunteers can observe and participate in natural and caesarean births.
Common Medical Problems Seen By Health Volunteers
Some of the common medical problems medical volunteers in Africa will face during their service include: typhoid, malaria, helminth infections, respiratory tract infections (bronchitis, TB, pneumonia), and urinary tract infections.
Other common medical problems medical volunteers will see are gastroenteritis, skin lesions, diarrhea, acute and chronic pain, cellulitis, fungal infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD — from cooking indoors), asthma, arthritis, tetanus, measles, pertussis, pneumonia, and malnutrition.
Medical health volunteers in Africa also must deal with sciatic pain, acid reflux, stomach ulcers, dental problems, eye problems, diabetes mellitus, heart failure, hypertension, altered mental status, sepsis, meningitis, failed aborts and STDs, or sexually transmitted diseases (gonorrhea, HIV, AIDS, and syphilis).
Medical Voluntary Work In Mobile Clinics & Other Medical Programs
Arrangements can be made for public health volunteers who wish to be based in rural areas to join mobile doctors and mobile clinics.
If your overseas hospital volunteer plans include working at AIDS projects in Africa, think about hospice volunteering. This is an extremely rewarding area of volunteer work which puts you in direct contact with patients on a daily basis. Many of these patients have no one else to care for them and to make certain that their medical needs are being met. They welcome the care you provide and your interest in their well being.
Public Education Campaigns
Medical volunteers assist in educating patients and communities on health related topics such as: malaria intervention, food and water safety, hygiene, dietary education, sexually transmitted diseases, and teach HIV/AIDS awareness in schools.
Furthermore, they assist in ensuring that patients understand their medical conditions and empower them to take an active role in their health, nutrition and preventive measures.
Health care volunteers in Africa may also perform medical research work. They perform research to create lectures and literature on topics such as reproductive health, hygiene, nutrition and other issues. Healthcare volunteers can also give health educational seminars and perform medical research work during their free time.