Volunteer in Health Sector
Adequate medical care is a serious problem in rural and urban areas of Nepal. The rapid movement of people to Kathmandu due to the civil war and to seek better financial opportunities has left much of the city’s public health infrastructure desperately oversubscribed. For many of the poor living in Kathmandu seeing a doctor for themselves and their children is simply not an affordable option. In rural areas health facilities are also in short supply due to poor transportation links and funding.
On top of this, there is also a cultural challenge in providing modern healthcare. Many traditional Nepali people are suspicious or do not know about Western medicine. To improve both these situations organisations like (TTDN) have established health clinics and health camps to provide basic health checks and awareness in needy communities. TTDN is also affiliated with some government hospitals that are in need of extra financial and personnel support.
How does a volunteer help?
TTDN has three different types of health placements for volunteers in Nepal:
1. Pre-medic placements
These placements are available for those who have a desire to work in the medical profession, but are not yet qualified or studying medicine. As a volunteer on this placement you will be given the opportunity to observe doctors in clinics and run your own health awareness programs in schools, women’s groups, orphanages and other community organisations. These awareness groups may provide local communities with sanitation knowledge and first aid training.
2. Medical student placements
health check 2If you are in the process of becoming a medical professional then this is the placement that will best suit you. Volunteers on this program will have the opportunity to carry out basic health checks in health clinics, observe Nepali doctors in hospitals and practice in your elected field. For most of this placement you will shadow Nepali doctors, who will have good spoken English. On this placement you may also get the chance to run/take part in TTDN’s own health camp, which moves between needy communities offering basic health care. If you come in a group of 4 or more medical students then you may have the opportunity to run the health camp yourselves.
3. Medical professionals’ placements
If you are a qualified medical professional then you have the opportunity to work in government hospitals, health clinics and the health camp. Depending on the length of your stay you may prefer to work with Nepali doctors or establish your own clinic/health camp practice.
Please note that working as a medical professional/ student in Nepal may be very different to your experiences in your home country. Medicine names and practices may differ here and volunteers have to adapt to these changes. Although TTDN provides the service of an interpreter where necessary, communication can sometimes limit the actions of our volunteers. This said, often volunteers feel that these factors enhance their experience in Nepal, forcing them to learn quickly on the job.
Do I need any specific qualifications or skills for this volunteering placement?
For pre-medic placements you must have a keen interest or be planning to study medicine in some capacity. For medical student placements you must be currently studying/have studied medicine. For our professional placements you must be practicing in the medical profession. On applying for these placements please let us know your level of experience and field of expertise and we will do our best to find you a suitable placement.
A day in the life of a health project volunteer…………
Time of Day : What you might be doing ………
7:30 – 9:00 Wake up in your homestay, have some milk tea for breakfast and eat dal bhat and then take a short walk or bus to the health clinic.
9:30 – 15:00 You will spend the day working alongside 2 Nepali doctors providing basic health checks to those that come into the clinic. If there are not many patients then you might knock on doors to see if they have any complaints. You may have some advice to share about how the clinic could run more effectively and spend some of the day implementing these changes. Using your initiative will help to make the most of time.
15:00 – 16:00 In the middle of the afternoon you are free to take a snack at your homestay or just relax somewhere near the clinic / medical care / Health post.
16:00 – 19:00 In the afternoon there may be more work to do at the clinic because people will start to come in after work / school. If appropriately qualified you may be able to shadow a Nepali Doctor at a Hospital for a few hours. If requested, You may have a free afternoon to go sightseeing.
19:00 Onwards Dinner will be available at your home stay at around 7pm. After dinner you can relax, spend time with your host family or explore the area.