Happy Wednesday friends!
Today I wanted to share my Clinical Medicine experience in Peru from June-July of 2016 with Vive Peru. This was my first time ever traveling out of the country without family, and practicing medicine as well so I was eager to explore and learn about the different healthcare system outside of the U.S. In addition, global health is very important to me because within today’s society it’s crucial to understand the processes of health, illness and healing across the globe.
First off, what is Global Health?
“Global health is the health of populations in the global context; it has been defined as “the area of study, research and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide” – Wikipedia
Why go to another country when I can help/shadow within my own community?
Going to a different country that is unfamiliar to you is an advantage to learn more about the culture and healthcare system. In this way, you then have a whole new experience vs. staying within your community. Also, there’s numerous of different ways/techniques that medical professionals in other countries do particular protocol whether it’s at the bedside or inside the Operating Room that you’ll be able to see firsthand.
In addition, I got to utilize my Spanish knowledge and practiced the language 24/7 in Peru.
What did you do in the Clinical Medicine program?
- Participated in a medical healthcare & Spanish class every week that included everything we needed to know as volunteers in order to be successful in Peru.
- Learned how to give vaccinations properly. (Practiced on each other, then did them in real-life)
- Learned how to do multiple suture techniques.
- Learned how to take vital signs and physical exams. (height, weight, blood pressure, patient history)
- Learned about the different types of diseases found within Peru & how to diagnose patients.
- Shadowed at a general hospital, which included these areas: Emergency Room, Dental, Cardiology, and Obstetrics & Gynecology.
- Observed surgeries at a cancer hospital. (Tumor removals)
- Observed cervical cancer examinations.
- Performed breast examinations for signs of cancer.
- Observed cataract removal in an Optometrist practice.
- Gave fluoride treatments to students within an elementary school.
- Participated directly in a medical campaign that gave free healthcare to patients in areas, which included pediatrics, general medicine and dentistry.
- Held weekly workshops within a community for youth that included dental & hygiene information.
Why I recommend going abroad:
- You’re hands-on for ALL of the activities. (i.e. learning and giving vaccinations)
- You’re able to learn more about a culture & healthcare system directly.
- Getting to practice the country’s language.
- You’re able to get more clinical/shadow hours.
- You’re able to network globally.
Nonetheless, going to Peru was one of the best experiences I’ve experienced thus far during my undergraduate career. I absolutely loved being able to interact with the different physicians and nurses within Peru because they gave me a whole new insight into what it meant to be a healthcare professional. Also, to experience the feeling of teaching kids how to brush their teeth for the first time and seeing their expression of happiness because it’s something new and extraordinary to them. Or, having the opportunity to watch a newborn baby make their entrance to the world for the first time as well. These are the moments I’ll never forget and will cherish for a lifetime.
So if you have the opportunity to do so, I highly recommend for you to go, even if you aren’t interested in the Clinical Medicine program, there’s so many other opportunities for you to help.
Vive Peru does offer programs within Public Health, Engineering, Teaching Education/Music, and Social Work.
I hope you found this post interesting; if you have any experience with volunteering abroad or have a favorite place that you’ve currently volunteering at, comment below! I would love to hear what y’all been up to! ❤️💉💊
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” ― John Bunyan
*FTC: All opinions are my own, Vive Peru was the organization that I attended and loved! For volunteer information, click here: https://viveperu.org/