Gain practical medical experience and insight on PMGY’s medical elective programme in India, whilst bringing support to some of Delhi’s poorest people.
Considering the advances in India’s healthcare system, the majority of the population still experience poor health. This is due to a lack of awareness on health issues and the simple fact that many Indians cannot afford regular, if any, medical treatment. The projects we support offer free, or highly subsidised, healthcare to local people from slum and rural communities.
We place volunteers at PMGYs’ free medical camps in the slum communities, local clinics and throughout a network of hospitals. The feedback this programme receives and the opportunities and exposure volunteers receives makes this PMGYs’ top medical experience across all our destinations.
The programme is not only for general medicine and nursing students, but also for all those with health-related interests. This opportunity is available to school leavers and those who have never studied medicine before. Some of the areas in which our volunteers can gain experience include:
Please note that these areas may be one-off placements. We cannot guarantee the time period in which a volunteers spends in one department. It may be the case, for example, that a volunteer shadows in A&E for one evening only. Placements cannot always be guaranteed and are dependent on hospital staff, rules and regulations.
You should arrive into Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi (airport code DEL) on the selected Sunday start date. Programmes start on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month. You will be met at the airport by one of our local staff or an appointed driver who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.
The programme ends on the Sunday of your final week and you should depart the accommodation on this day.
Can I use this program as part of a university or college placement?
It is certainly possible to use one of PMGY’s programmes as part of your university or college placement. Project staff can sign off any paperwork required by your course tutors. PMGY regularly receives medical, childcare, psychology and nursing placement students at our projects around the world and we have ties with some of the leading universities.
If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programmes could meet the placement requirements for your degree course then please contact us.
Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?
Although our volunteers work in the developing world, we always ensure our host locations are safe. Each programme has been extensively researched and has passed our strict vetting process. Our UK team undergo an extensive routine when establishing our in-country infrastructures and we continue to monitor our safety procedures on a regular basis. Furthermore, we monitor the stability of our volunteer destinations on a daily basis. Through our constant contact with consulates and embassies and our reports from our overseas teams, we are able to ensure that our volunteers are never placed in unstable regions.
The PMGY team have visited and participated in every programme we offer and verified them based on our own independent criteria. We carefully inspect every little detail of our set-up. From inspecting the living conditions, checking out the neighbourhoods you’ll be staying in, to tasting the food you’ll be eating – each and every programme we establish has gone through a lengthy and rigorous vetting process. Risk assessments have been written for all areas in which PMGY operate and our experienced local coordinators are always on-hand to manage any emergencies that may occur. Our UK team are always on the road reviewing our risk management procedures in the field and monitoring local conditions.
In emergency situations we have the necessary protocols and equipment in place and we are able to evacuate our volunteers from potential dangers. Our local coordinators are trained to deal with emergency circumstances.
When you join PMGY we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visa issues etc. Furthermore, our UK team are only ever a phone call away should you wish to discuss any aspect of your upcoming programme. When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive safety briefing during your orientation course by our local coordinators. We will go through everything from emergency procedures, how to use local transport and cultural differences. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM card, something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. We will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.
All our local teams are experienced development professionals who have years of experience in hosting international volunteers. They are our representatives on the ground and will assist you 24/7 throughout your stay. Whether you need to call home, travel at the weekend or require urgent assistance – they are there to support you.
While we cannot guarantee your volunteer experience to be 100% trouble free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each programme is as safe as possible.
Your level of involvement at the project is dictated by medical experience, duration of programme and willingness to get involved. The medical staff are accountable for you whilst you’re under their supervision, so it is completely up to them if you are permitted and want to get involved in hands-on procedures. Whilst previous PMGY volunteers have been given the chance to administer IV injections, dress wounds etc, we can never guarantee or promote hands-on involvement for participants regardless of their medical experience or background.
Generally speaking those with little or no medical experience assume a largely observational role. If you are studying medically related degree, then you should have more opportunity to undertake some more basic hands-on involvement. However, to reiterate we can never guarantee or endorse hands-on experience should you choose to get hands-on, as the decision ultimately lies with the medical staff.
A list of our more common placements that tend to run throughout the whole year include:
ECO SCHOOL SLUM CLINIC
These primary healthcare clinics run all year round and are perfect for participants who have little or no medical experience. The doctors will act as your mentor, explaining cases to you and answering any questions you might have.
Volunteers will have the chance to undertake basic hands-on involvement, if they choose to do so, such as taking patient measurements, checking vital signs and treating minor wounds under the supervision of the local doctors. Although the patient interactions will be in Hindi, the doctors speak English and will explain everything to you in English.
The clinics are based in our Eco Slum School – one of which is general medicine and the other is gynaecology. In both cases, volunteers aid the doctor in assessing patients from the local slum community. We currently have one male and one female doctor based at the healthcare clinics. These clinics are the main point of access for the local community, who may not otherwise have the opportunity for any other form of healthcare. Doctors can see anywhere from 20 to 50 patients arrive daily to the slum clinic for healthcare.
The slum clinic is the main point of access for health treatments as it is free for local people. There is two clinic rooms where doctors undergo consultancies and also a pharmacy room where patients details are taken and medicines arranged and prescribed.
Volunteers will be able to support within the pharmacy room as well as supporting the doctors in carrying out blood pressure; blood sugar; pulse and learn to give injections if permitted by your University. The doctors are extremely welcoming and very keen for volunteers to learn demonstrating delivery of injections, nebulizers and more.
The gynaecology clinic is a newer development with hopes of further expansion in the future, as women from the local community are educated about female health. A total of four volunteers can work between these two clinics at one time. With both clinics located within the slum school, the volunteers will also have the opportunity to engage with the children, and are also encouraged to involve themselves in the assembly activities.
SHADOWING IN A HOSPITAL SETTING
We have a number of hospitals within our network, where we can place volunteers. The main hospitals we work with are the Royal hospital, Ghal hospital and an eye hospital. It is possible to get experience in multiple departments; however you should plan to spend at least 3-5 days in each department in order to gain a comprehensive insight.
Volunteers wishing to witness surgeries can do so as we work with many hospitals whereby volunteers can gain invaluable shadowing experience in theatre and to surgeries. However, these are ad-hoc and so you will be notified a day in advance or even on the day, once the surgeries have been confirmed. Naturally we cannot guarantee that specific surgeries will take place.
Generally speaking, volunteers will have the opportunity to shadow within the hospitals and carry out basic health checks on patients on the doctor’s rounds. It can be a real eye-opening experience to see the difference between hospitals out in India in comparison to those at home.
GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL LABS
Volunteers sit with a health assistant and aid her as she carries out pregnancy checks, urine glucose levels, blood type tests, haemoglobin tests etc. There may be the opportunity to visit the labour ward here if there are any births at the time, although these of course cannot be guaranteed. Two volunteers can participate in this project at one time.
Here volunteers have the opportunity to work alongside a local doctor in carrying out basic health checks on members of the local community in a bustling street market.
Usually the doctor sees up to 100 patients daily and can run in both morning and late evening time. This may allow for basic hands on involvement if volunteers choose to undertake such an opportunity.
IN & AROUND FARIDABAD
PMGY volunteers are based in Faridabad, a satellite city of Delhi located In the National Capital Region (NCR) of New Delhi. Just 25km from Delhi, volunteers are far enough away to enjoy a quieter setting (by Indian standards!) but close enough to absorb all the magic, mystery and mayhem that Delhi has to offer.
Faridabad is a comfortable, well-connected location to live and work in. There are a few tourist spots worth a visit such as: Baba Farid’s tomb (its believed Faridabad was named after him); Badhkal Lake and Raja Nahar Singh Palace. There are also some interesting temples and local parks for you to visit as well as markets and shopping malls, including a cinema if you fancy going to see some Bollywood flicks!
Our participants are situated in a great location to explore the local sites and also travel further afield.
Delhi is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and home to 25 million people. Despite this it is a relatively easy city to find your way around in and made infinitely easier by its gleaming, cheap and efficient metro. The city is split into two parts: Old Delhi, a 17th Century walled city with narrow alleys, constant traffic and main tourist sites and the spacious, planned areas of New Delhi.
Old Delhi is littered with the relics of lost empires such as the imposing Mughal-era Red Fort, a symbol of India, and the sprawling Jama Masjid mosque, the largest in India, whose courtyard accommodates 25,000 people! Nearby is Chandni Chowk, the main street of Old Delhi and a vibrant bazaar filled with food carts, sweets shops and spice stalls.
The magical allure of the Taj Mahal draws tourists to Agra like moths to a wondrous flame. Widely considered to be the most beautiful building in the world, despite the hype, it is every bit as good as you’ve heard.
The Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan as a memorial to his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child in 1631. The death of Mumtaz left the emperor so heartbroken that his hair is said to have turned grey virtually overnight. Construction of the Taj began the following year but the whole complex was not completed until 1653, 22 years later. Not long after it was finished Shah Jahan was overthrown by his son Aurangzeb and imprisoned in Agra Fort where, for the rest of his days, he could only gaze out at his creation through a window. Following his death in 1666, Shah Jahan was buried here alongside Mumtaz.
JAIPUR - 'PINK CITY'
Jaipur, the vibrant capital of Rajasthan is popularly known as the ‘Pink City’ for its trademark building colour in the wonderful old city. This buzzing metropolis is certainly a place of wild contrasts and is a feast for the eyes. Vegetable-laden camel carts thread their way through streets jam-packed with cars, cows, rickshaws, bicycles, motorcycles and pedestrians frantically dodging the incessant traffic!
On-arrival into Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi (DEL) you will be met at arrivals by one of PMGY’s appointed and trusted drivers who will speak a decent level of English. They will be holding a PMGY sign. It is advised that volunteers purchase a PMGY volunteer t-shirt and wear it on their flight, as this makes it easier for us to identify you at the airport.
Once you’ve located the driver, they will introduce themselves to you and drive you straight to the Volunteer House where you will be staying. The journey takes around 1 to 1.5 hours. On-arrival at the Volunteer House, you will be met by one of our local coordinators and your fellow volunteers.
During your time with PMGY in India you will live in our Volunteer House located in central Faridabad, a satellite city 15 miles from Delhi. You will find restaurants, convenience stores and ATMs all within walking distance. You’ll be living with other PMGY volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way.
The accommodation is large, basic but comfortable with free Wi-Fi. Each room has bunk beds with up to 7 people per room in same-sex rooms. Volunteers are provided with fans in the room and their own bed linen. Bathrooms are shared, have a shower and western style toilet.
The house has free Wi-Fi (although intermittent) and a communal area for volunteers to hang out. We encourage you to bring some small padlocks and/or store any valuables with our local team in their private area. There will also be fridge space available for volunteers to store any items they need to keep chilled. There are facilities for volunteers to hand-wash and dry their clothes. A laundry service is also available for a nominal fee.
Volunteers are housed with a wonderful host family who coordinate our projects in India. Volunteers have their own separate living quarters, but still have regular interaction with our local coordinator. This accommodation setup offers volunteers the unique experience of living with lots of other volunteers as well as getting the cultural immersion of staying with a host family. It really is the best of both worlds!
The majority of our projects are not within walking distance of our Volunteer House. PMGY will take you to and from the project each day and the cost of this service is included in your Programme Fee.
During our busiest months (June to September) you may be placed at alternative accommodation. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.
You will be provided with three meals a day. All meals are freshly prepared and made up of vegetarian ingredients. Furthermore, most meals are typical Indian dishes, although pasta and other such western dishes are prepared every now and then. If you are not a huge lover of spicy food don’t worry, there will always be a more mild option available!
Volunteers are advised to notify our local team if the food is not to their taste who will aim to adjust the food appropriately.
* Please inform us in your application if you have any specific dietary requirements.