by Work the World

There has been a huge amount written about the Global Health Initiative recently so we decided to ask our healthcare students overseas what they thought about this and how an overseas elective has provided more of an insight into this?

It has been a crazy week worldwide for many of our elective students with many tying up their summer placements and preparing to head back to university but we did hear back from a few of our destinations.

Lucy in Argentina thinks that “an overseas elective allows you to gain an insight into how the health systems in other countries work and to explore the differences between the NHS and these systems abroad. Global health is an important subject – many people in the world don’t have the same access to healthcare that we take for granted in the UK."

Joe in Ghana wrote “Indeed global health has come to the forefront of discussions and Snenehal thinks all the stuff she's heard about in the news is True - Poor infrastructure, limited resource and poor medical practices. Georgina retorted, “The most stunning of all is the inability of most of the people to access quality health care for lack of money” Just like the other students Snenehal is of the view that global health is a political issue and that if world leaders are able to put health at the top of the priority list then a better system could be run. “It’s a shame I saw a lot of children and young people like myself in the morgue who could have survived if there were better health facilities around."

As to whether their overseas elective has given them insight into this issue, Rebecca was quick to state “definitely yes!" I asked how and this is what she has to say, "Being in Ghana has given me a greater appreciation of global health which with worldwide travels and migration is a very important part of medicine. It has opened my eyes to some medical conditions I would not have seen in the UK, for instance malaria and cerebral toxoplasmosis." And even with the common ones in the UK, Donna has gain insight into the magnitude of the illness and the different management options for them. Damian added “With my interest in public health, I have gained significant insight into the preventive and educative aspect health” Generally students believe their elective placement in Ghana has exposed them to the realities of global health as they now escape the trap of sitting at one corner of the globe to generalise with prevailing cases in the advanced world.  Simply put, they think the global health news items have hit them in the face on this elective!”

In Lake Victoria, student Kim told us "I always expected healthcare to be completely different but it still shocked me just how much limited resources impacts on patient care. In the village hospital at Bukumbi we spent an hour trying to find an Oxygen mask for an infant in acute respiratory distress. HIV is of course one of the biggest health issues here, we saw a choir singing and dancing about the disease; its symptoms and treatment. It was wonderful to see how traditional culture still has a role to play in modern medicine here in Tanzania.”

Sunhil in Nepal said that “Most people mistake global health for diseases in developing countries, it is a very important issue to highlight as it matters to people all over than just one nation. And basically, with different nations coming together it is a global issue.  Overseas electives and work placements help you get an insight to it as you come to know about various infections, diseases that you've only read about - that can be transmitted easily or you might carry it back unknowingly. All the precaution, the jabs you take to come to a country is to stay protected throughout and it shows that it is a joint effort to fight a disease and it is not carried on to another place.

Most of the diseases, infection for reasons that may not be immediately clear, but after coming doing an overseas elective you know they are nevertheless very real. So it helps a lot.”

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