How much do you know about your Placement Destination?
An Elective Abroad opportunity brings with it a chance to experience unique healthcare in a different country. This comes with the different cultural beliefs and healthcare delivery. For instance in Western Kenya, some communities like the Bukusu regard giving birth to twins as a bad omen and one of the twins has to be killed or the mother sent away. Most communities in the country also practice circumcision, which is regarded as a right of passage from childhood to adulthood. In the past, the removal of the man’s foreskin was done the crude way and using crude tools that with time was advised against due to transmission of HIV/Aids. This led to the introduction of circumcision services in government hospitals to ensure that transmission of communicable diseases are prevented. This and many others are unique to Kenya and most East African Countries. Experiencing medicine in a different system as your country’s gives you a greater understanding of the social perspectives of medicine.
Your well being during your elective abroad should be carefully calculated with the rewarding experience that you would gain in that particular destination. In as much as you are never 100% sure of your health and safely abroad, there are certain measures you should put in place to minimize such incidence. When using a placement provider, it is important to analyze what policy they have to ensure that you are safe on your placement. It is for that same reason that Elective Africa has in place extensive pre-departure support where you will be guided on particular areas touching on your Health and Safety Abroad.
Destinations differ. There are a number of continents/countries you can opt for. From the USA, Canada, Australia to developing countries including Sub-Sahara Africa and Kenya or Tanzania to be specific. Whatever you decide to go on with, heed to certain consideration. Over the years, some of our electives/prehealth shadowing participants have opted to do their placement in rural Kenya. Some have opted for the most popular, Coastal Kenya due its potential to provide a great placement as well as an opportunity to relax on the beach and volunteer during one’s free time. Despite the fact that the hospitals are in Kenya, the settings, risks and learning experiences are quite different.
Remember electives can be done in ones country, but when done abroad it offers the opportunity to experience healthcare in a different cultural and organizational setting and to see diseases that are rarely, if at all encountered in your country. Local electives are great but not as the life defining experiences you get to have by undertaking a placement in the Coastal Kenya, Rural or urban setting in Arusha.
Why am I taking this elective? Is a question that will guide you on the destination you want? Is it pure holiday, some real medical experience or a combination of the both?
‘In my opinion, having clinical attachment in developing countries is the best experience in medical school. The health care system and diseases in developing countries are entirely different from that in developed countries. It would be the best chance for me to learn tropical disease and HIV related diseases in Kenya. If I have elective in other countries e.g. England, I could not appreciate the difference of health care facilities and resources between Hong Kong and developing countries ~ Wong Chrisity, The University of Hong Kong
‘My four weeks at Mt. Meru Regional Hospital OBS&GYN Department have been an incredible learning experience. The doctors and staff have been welcoming and willing to teach. The department is extremely busy and there are lots of opportunities for hands on including deliveries ~ Elyssa Metas, University of Arizona
‘When I decided to go to Mombasa, Kenya with Elective Africa, I had three years of medical training under my belt – one of which was clinical work. I was excited by the possibility of experiencing a culture much different from my own, and being able to provide care to patients in a limited resource environment. Culture shock is something you cannot prepare for, but must simply embrace and enjoy the experience. I don’t specifically remember why I chose Mombasa, but I can tell you it was a good choice. Mombasa is a busy, friendly, exciting and beautiful city. There are beautiful beaches to explore. There are a number of restaurants and shops to see. The people of Mombasa are hardworking and welcoming’ ~ Dr. Bryanne Robson
Still not sure where to go? Our Placement Advisors will be willing to take you through this for Free.