Cash prize for medical students planning elective in poor overseas community

Cash prize for medical students planning elective in poor overseas community

Atualizado: Quinta-feira, 3 Fevereiro de 2011 as 4

The prize money has been available by grant-making charity Medical Services Ministries (MSM) in conjunction with the Christian Medical Fellowship.

Overseas electives are a great way for medical students to gain hands on experience in their chosen profession as well as valuable insight into the practice of medicine within a different context, but they can also come with a high price tag

Last year’s winner, Aaron Wallace of Queen’s University Belfast, said: "Planning an elective is not easy and is certainly not cheap. Flights, transport, visas, immunisations and other medical equipment all add to the bill and this is not easy when you are still a student."

For his elective, Aaron chose to spend several weeks in a rural mission hospital in north-west Cameroon, close to the Nigerian border.

As in many poor communities around the world, lack of money and transport meant many of the people he saw only came to the hospital when they were very ill.

"A major obstacle to medical progress is the patients’ ability to pay," he explained.

"This meant they presented at a later stage of their illness, and they were more likely to request to be discharged at an earlier date than was appropriate because they could not afford any more treatment."

He also encountered many medical conditions he had never seen before, such as TB, HIV, malaria, cryptococcal meningitis and Steven-Johnson’s Syndrome.

It wasn't only the medical conditions that were different. Aaron also saw hospital staff sharing their faith with patients, an openness that made a strong impression on him.

"There were many times when I saw doctors who were ministering the gospel and praying with patients.

"There were also several occasions when I was able to share my own faith. I found this really refreshing from the secularised system at home.

"In an age where ‘holistic medicine’ is the new buzzword in the UK, it is ironic that I saw it more in action in Africa, where no-one uses the term.

"I think it is a potent example when the person responsible for your physical well-being also has a great concern for your soul."

The deadline for entries to the competition is midnight on 31 March 2011. It is open to any UK medical student working their elective in a developing country for a national or international Christian organisatio   Christian Today

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