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Medical volunteer programs abroad are the perfect opportunities to experience the healthcare industry in a developing country...

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Healthcare & Medical Volunteering Abroad

Volunteers who are currently active in the health industry or are determined to pursue a career in this industry can make a difference by volunteering for one of the many healthcare programs abroad. All over the world, there are countless people and communities in need of medical or nutritional support. Luckily, there are programs catering to the different needs of the community. Discover a world of opportunity for volunteers who want to work and contribute to the health sector abroad. Find an organization you fully support and travel to some of the most remote places. This is your chance to help communities as a medical volunteer abroad and provide the medical services that everyone deserves.

Why volunteer for Health Services?

Here are a few facts provided by the World Health Organization, which gives us an indication of the current health struggles the human race is facing globally.

  • Around 6.6 million children die under the age of 5 each year.
    Almost all of these children could have been saved if they had access to simple and affordable means like inexpensive vaccines, medication, clean water and sanitation.
  • Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the world.
    Around 30% of deaths are caused by cardiovascular diseases. At least 80% of premature deaths from cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by a healthy diet, regular physical exercise and avoiding tobacco.
  • 800 women die every day due to complications of pregnancy or childbirth.
    Maternal mortality is prominent in poor regions.
  • Mental health disorders such as depression are among the 20 leading causes of disability worldwide.
    Depression affects around 300 million people worldwide and is expected to increase. Less than half of the people affected have access to adequate treatment and healthcare.
  • Almost 1 in 10 adults has diabetes. People with diabetes have an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Deaths caused by diabetes have increased since 2000.

These numbers show that people are suffering worldwide. With the right treatment, many can easily be helped. Become a healthcare volunteer and contribute to a cause that will improve the quality of life of many people. Volunteer abroad and help the next generation lead healthier lives.

Those of us living in developed regions often take access to health services for granted. People in undeveloped areas often haven’t received basic vaccinations and are ill due to poor living standards.

Without external healthcare or the right medical attention, they can’t break the vicious cycle. Volunteers for healthcare programs can make a huge difference in communities that suffer from basic health issues.

Treating those less fortunate

The world is fortunate to have international medical volunteer organizations that have identified the need for healthcare in regions that need it most. They are passionate about creating medical volunteer opportunities that educate and treat vulnerable communities in regions like Africa, Asia and South America.

International experience

If you are a medical student or a psychology or nutritional science student and you’re eager to work in healthcare overseas, volunteering for a healthcare program is an excellent opportunity to gain practical work experience.

Medical volunteer programs abroad will give you more insight into the health practices in developing countries. Students will work with an international team, learn about the culture and understand what it’s like to work in less than ideal conditions. Students can also consider this opportunity as an internship.

Volunteer for a healthcare project abroad and help local communities by giving them the health support they deserve. Countries in Africa, Asia, and South America struggle to provide sufficient health services. Become a healthcare volunteer or a medical intern abroad and make a tremendous impact.

Students, this experience will definitely impact future career opportunities because volunteering in these conditions demonstrates commitment and responsibility.

What will I do as a Volunteer for a Healthcare program?

With over 100 different programs, there are so many volunteer opportunities in health services. Each volunteer opportunity has varying responsibilities. Some projects are focused on experienced volunteers or medical students, while others will also welcome enthusiasts without medical know-how.

Healthcare programs for experienced volunteers

Volunteers with experience in healthcare are in high demand among international medical volunteer programs. Volunteers with medical experience will have more responsibilities during the program.

These programs are usually located in rural areas where the local community has limited access to medical treatment. Volunteers will work in local hospitals with minimal resources. This will be challenging but rewarding at the same time.

Here are some of the tasks experienced healthcare volunteers can expect:

  • Observing / Performing procedures
  • Assisting with / Performing Surgery
  • Health data recording and storage
  • Taking care of patients
  • Reporting for out-patient care
  • Monitoring recovery
  • Emergency room support
  • Office administration

Food and Nutrition

Food and nutrition is another pillar of the health services industry. Poor nutrition is affecting developing countries in many ways. It’s not only the lack of food but poor food choices that are causing serious health issues like diabetes and heart disease.

As a volunteer for health services abroad in the food and nutrition field, your tasks will be focused on:

  • Redistributing food to people who have limited access to food like homeless people.
  • Leading nutritional programs to help the community transform their eating habits.
  • Create awareness around the dangers of processed foods and the importance of fresh whole foods.

These programs are vital in helping to prevent diseases like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, etc.

Healthcare Support

Prevention of diseases is becoming more and more important. Many people in developing regions remain unaware of how to avoid diseases.

Certain healthcare programs focus on educating local communities on their health. These programs focus on bringing across the importance of basic prevention, nutrition and sanitation.

Volunteers who are interested in health services projects but lack medical experience can volunteer for a healthcare support program and teach communities crucial habits that will improve their health significantly.

Prevention is always better than treatment.

Medical Training

Medical students can volunteer abroad for healthcare services and see this experience as medical training or internship. Depending on your experience, you will treat patients and perform surgeries.

Volunteers or interns who don’t have practical experience yet will learn by observing doctors on-site and assisting them.

Depending on your experience, you can expect to help with the following tasks during your medical training program:

  • Observing procedures
  • Office administration
  • Health data recording and storage
  • Taking care of patients
  • Reporting for out-patient care
  • Changing bandages
  • Monitoring recovery
  • Checking blood pressure
  • Emergency room support
  • Weighing babies
  • Applying first aid

As an intern in health services abroad, you will gain valuable insights into healthcare in countries with limited resources and practical hands-on work experience. Select the right program for you and start helping those in need in Africa, Asia, and South America. These projects will give you a different perspective of what you learned in school.

Best Places to Volunteer for Health care

Developing countries in Africa, South America and Asia need your help the most. Rural areas often don’t have hospitals or clinics and rely on very limited resources. They need all the help they can get.

If you decide to volunteer abroad in health services, get ready for an adventure. Be prepared to meet the most gracious and optimistic people despite their unfavorable conditions.

Let’s take a closer look at some destinations for your international volunteer journey.

Latin America

Volunteers eager to brush up on their Spanish can head to Latin America to contribute to a medical program or healthcare project. Offer help in culturally diverse places and explore the unique surroundings of countries like Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico.

Africa

African gems like Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi and South Africa are waiting for volunteers to lend a hand in different health services programs. Experience authentic Africa and volunteer your valuable time to help those less fortunate live healthier lives.

Asia

Volunteers eager to visit hotspots like Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam can give back to the local community by supporting local doctors and healthcare volunteer programs! Admire colorful India or explore destinations off the beaten track like Cambodia and Mongolia as you embark on your health journey abroad.

100+ international health services programs worldwide are waiting for your help to guide patients on a path to better health.

Benefits of volunteering for Health Services

It’s difficult to name drawbacks when discussing volunteering opportunities overseas. Even more so when it’s dedicated to helping people improve their health. By volunteering for health services, you are supporting the healthcare industry in areas where they really need it. Let’s take a look at the benefits this experience will have in store for you:

Valuable Learning Opportunities

As a volunteer for health services, you will learn from experienced doctors. Volunteers looking to specialize can do a medical internship and focus on a specific field. If you don’t have a medical background, you can support the projects by spreading awareness among the local community.

You will also learn about the culture, the country and what it’s like to work in the healthcare industry in a developing country. This volunteer opportunity will teach you things you’ll never learn at school.

Meet other people

This is your chance to meet other like-minded individuals and form meaningful connections. Your volunteer adventure will connect you with locals and other volunteers who share the same interests. Joining a volunteer program may be the first step to a lifelong friendship.

New Experiences

Volunteering is a brilliant way to expand your perspective of the world. Issues that seemed like huge before may seem trivial after your volunteer experience in health services. Once you join a project in health services, it will seem like the new experiences never end.

Happiness

Research shows that a sense of purpose has a spectacular influence on people’s happiness. Volunteer in healthcare and you will experience first-hand how empowering it is to help others regain their health.

Travel

This is your chance to explore the world and discover some of the most enchanting places in the world. You’ll be traveling AND contributing to a meaningful cause. What are you waiting for? Get out your luggage and start packing!

Who can work as a volunteer in a healthcare project?

In case you’re not sure whether you would make a good health services volunteer, we have listed some personality traits that are good to have:

  • Communication skills
  • Emotional stability
  • Empathy
  • Flexibility
  • Attention to detail
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Physical endurance
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Quick response to emergencies
  • Respect for people of all cultures

It's not necessary to tick all the boxes but it’s a good guideline to help you decide whether you would be a good healthcare volunteer abroad.

There will be many opportunities to learn from this experience but also bear in mind that it will not always be easy. As a volunteer in a medical program, you will witness things that you may be unprepared for.

What language skills are required?

English is the main language of all health services projects abroad. Volunteers must have a good understanding of English. to communicate with the staff at the project center and other volunteers. For volunteer programs in South America, it would be great if you gain a basic knowledge of Spanish before your trip.

How do I get started as a Volunteer for Health Services?

You’re ready to start changing lives but you’re not quite sure where to start? Start by having a look at the different programs in Africa, Asia, and South America. Then select a few that have caught your attention.

Once you’ve done that, let’s take a look at the first 3 steps which will send you on your way volunteering for healthcare abroad:

  1. Check whether there’s a match between you and the healthcare project by reading their program.
  2. Take a look at the location of the project and decide whether it’s a place you’re excited to go to.
  3. Contact the organization and see whether your expectations and schedule match up.

Once you’ve decided where to volunteer, let’s take a look at the practical steps:

Insurance (Health & travel)

We recommend getting both health and travel insurance. This is a requirement for all volunteer programs abroad. Contact your project coordinator to find out if an insurance plan is already in place for volunteers.

Visa, passport, and documentation

Once you know your destination, take the following 3 steps before setting off on your life-changing adventure!

  • Look up the visa requirements for the country you will volunteer in
  • Check if you have a valid passport considering the requirement of the host country
  • Prepare the correct documents for the visa application

That’s it! You’re ready to explore the world and work your magic in the health services industry. You will learn a lot about healthcare, yourself and experience a completely new culture. Take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will change the lives of others and transform a community. Africa, Asia, and Latin America are waiting for your support!