Exeter Medical School final year student Luke Tester recently spent part of his medical elective working for HIPZ and has shared with us his experiences:
"My elective with HIPZ was incredibly valuable. As a final year medical student, the varied and unpredictable experiences have shaped me into a more capable, pragmatic and resourceful future clinician.
It is evident from the first hour in the hospital that HIPZ is doing crucial work to improve healthcare provision through its network of staff and volunteers. The focus is on sustainable change which includes training staff, setting up treatment protocols and ensuring the smooth running of the hospital. I split my time between the six inpatient wards, the outpatient department and the maternity building and each presented opportunities to get involved in many different ways with benefits to myself, the local staff and patients. I frequently worked alongside local doctors to examine, diagnose and treat patients and we learnt from each other. The low-resource nature of work in Zanzibar presented challenges that you simply do not see in the UK, requiring pragmatism and innovation. The hospital operates under difficult conditions and everyone is required to play their part, which presents excellent opportunities to learn and develop as an individual.
Part of the elective placement is spent completing a project. Whilst I spent every morning working clinically, I spent several afternoons doing a review of mortality data, ultimately producing recommendations for the hospital management team that I hope will lead to more proactive healthcare and fewer avoidable deaths.
Zanzibar is a beautiful island with a lot to offer. I used every weekend and many evenings to explore with the other volunteers and highly recommend adding a few days to the end of your placement to make the most of your trip!"