Archive for month: May, 2016

International Elective Grant Recipient’s Story

HOPE4HEALTH annually provides assistance for medical and allied health students completing electives in developing communities through the International Elective Grants and Student Elective Aid programs. Both of these programs remain open throughout the year for students going on elective at any time.

The Student Elective Aid program enables students to provide medical aid to impoverished countries during their elective placements. The idea behind SEA is simple. Each year, Australian medical practices discard or destroy large amounts of surplus equipment. This same equipment is desperately required in resource-poor communities. To find out more about SEA, head to our website or contact us at sea@hope4health.org.au .

The International Elective Grant scheme provides financial assistance to meet their elective travel costs, as well as provide a contribution for funding of medical equipment or aid needed by the community they plan to visit. . These grants help ensure that medical and allied health students can undertake an elective in a developing country and contribute to the level of medical care. We believe that exposure to international health work will encourage greater participation and engagement in developing health care by the students involved and aim to facilitate this. For more information check our website or get in contact with our International Portfolio Coordinators via international@hope4health.org.au .

One of the 2016 International Elective Grant recipients, David Flynn, shares his story below about his experiences in Zambia:

IMG_4748My name is David Flynn, I am a final year medical student at Griffith University and throughout February 2016, I had the amazing opportunity to undertake an elective at Livingstone Central Hospital, which is located in southern Zambia.

Zambia has the 7th highest prevalence of HIV in the world with ~12% of the population being HIV positive. The vast majority of admissions to the ward are due to HIV complications or newly arisen opportunistic infections from HIV. Pulmonary tuberculosis, tuberculosis of the meninges, spine, peritoneum, cryptococcal meningitis, pneumocystis jiroveci (all complications from HIV) are common, daily presentations that I saw at the hospital that are rarely seen in Australia.

The HIV clinic at the hospital is the largest in the region (serving a population of 1.8 million). However despite the significant burden, the clinic is situated in a small run-down building that is over 100 years old (built during the time of colonialisation) and is run on a shoe-string budget and a skeleton staff. Despite the lack of funds and resources at their disposal it is really incredible to see the amount of work they are able to do for the people of Zambia.

The hospital and HIV clinic are unable afford simple resources which are so readily available in Australia. It was with the generosity of Hope4Health that we were able to donate $500 to the clinic, which went towards buying a blood pressure machine, a blood sugar monitor, 2 x thermometers, 2 x electric fans and a water cooler. The clinic was extremely thankful for this donation (especially given the temperature in Summer regularly goes above 40°C and they don’t have any fans!). This is a photo of me with Sister Kashwela and Sister Mukuka- the two incredibly selfless women who run the HIV clinic.

Overall, the elective was an eye-opening and at times, overwhelming experience. I would like to thank Hope4Health for their generous donation towards the hospital and the HIV clinic- it makes a world of difference to those in need.

David Flynn 

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