Are you a medical or healthcare student looking for medical volunteering abroad programs? At IVI, we operate medical and nutrition programs across a variety of counties.
Medical volunteering abroad in a developing country can have a big impact on the lives of the local people. Often, the villages we work with have little access to healthcare, or medical asistence may be limited in terms of both recourses and knowledge and education of heathcare professionals. In these poorer countries doctors and nurses often have to cope with fewer treatment options and equipoemt for their patients.
By choosing a medical volunteering abroad program you can help under-staffed hostpitals, clinics and assisted living facilities. The help you will be able to offer will obviously depend on your experience and qualifications but even healthcare students can make a real impact! Plus, some of our rograms may count as credits towards your university course.
Choosinhto volunteer on a medical project abroad is a fantastic experience for students, as it can really put your skills into practice, at the same time as learning about a new healthcare system and culture, and interacting wth people from around the world.
So, here are IVI’s top medical volunteering abroad programs for 2022 and 2023…
Medical Clinic Support, Guatemala
Guatemala has an extremely high poverty rate, estimated at 59.5% (23% of those live in extreme poverty). Around 8 out of 10 indigenous children are said to be suffering from chronic malnutrition and income equality is very high, with a huge difference between rich and poor families.
In Guatemala, hospitals and clinics are frequently understaffed, lack resources, and are not properly funded. On this project you will work alongside local doctors, nurses, and other professionals in rural and understaffed government-run clinics.
You can help with general check-ups, taking vital signs, preparing materials and equipment, and assisting during mealtimes. Volunteers can also help educate the community by creating medical campaigns to provide healthcare, dental check-ups, and hygiene education to disadvantaged communities outside of Antigua. The impact of our volunteers can have a big impact on the communities we serve.
Medical Hospital Internship, Ghana
Ghana has seen a steady increase of economic growth in recent years, however with this growth, inequality has become more apparent. Poverty is much higher in rural areas throughout the county (this can be 4 times higher). Around a third of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day, and healthcare is still poor, with many people, particularly those in the North, having to travel long distances to reach a hospital.
Volunteers can expect to be situated in either a large clinic / hospital in Accra, or smaller rural clinics. There is also the option to participate in structured medical outreach campaigns and travel out to rural areas providing healthcare and medical services to those with almost no access to quality medicine. Services provided may include infection prevention & education, malaria testing, sexual and hygiene education etc. If you have a specialty, we can often tailor the work accordingly.
Specific medical experience is not required for this program, but is of great advantage. In the hospitals and clinics, the tasks will be mostly shadowing doctors and medical professional staff and supporting the medical staff in any way you can, making their job easier. Most of your time is spent shadowing the local staff in their day-to-day work, learning how they manage and interact with patients. Depending on experience could be asked to take on a more hands-on role to the medical care being delivered if you are capable of that role.
Hospital Internship, Nepal
Around 25% of the population in Nepal are living below the poverty line. Malnutrition is particularly evident in children under 5, with 36% of kids enduring stunted growth. Much of Nepal’s population lacks access to basic medical care.
For those practising or aspiring to practice medicine, the hospital internship is an amazing experience which will help you appreciate the challenges faced in developing countries around medical care. As a Medical intern, you’ll shadow registered doctors and nurses and may take part in medical procedures dependant on skill levels. The majority of work will be observation based only within government, private, or community hospitals in Kathmandu and in around Kathmandu Valley.
There will not be any hands-on work unless you are very experienced. If not, then most of your learning will be through observation. Many options are available for volunteers depending on your skill level. You’ll spend the first couple days observing and being assessed for your experience level which will be discussed and agreed to with the head doctors or nurses in order to optimize your contribution to the hospital. Experienced participants can be delegated daily roles as nurses and doctors. See first hand treatments you may not have access to seeing in your home environment.
Medical Volunteer, Peru
Approx 40% living in Cusco, Peru are living below the poverty line. The average monthly wage in this region is only approx 338 Solas (USD $101). Many of the Peruvian hospitals are under-funded and as a result, under-staffed with limited resources to provide quality healthcare services. As a medical volunteer even with limited experience, you can actually make a big difference assisting qualified nurses, doctors, dentists, physiotherapists and various medical specialists.
Your placement will depend on experience, with pre-med students or first/second year students shadowing and/or working in areas of the hospital that involve less complicated tasks such as performing assessments of height, weight, blood pressure, temperature, sterilization and general assistance. There’s always something to be done and the tasks are varied so it’s important the volunteers are ready and willing to learn and adapt to local conditions.
For qualified medical volunteers or those in their 3rd or 4th year of study in a medical field, you’ll likely assist with cleaning wounds, giving injections, assisting nurses and doctors with physical examinations, taking blood, recording data, physiotherapy and various other support jobs.
It’s of significant advantage if you’re able to speak some Spanish (but this is not mandatory). You’ll need to provide evidence of prior learning during the application process.
Hospital Internship, Sri Lanka
Around 45% of the popualtion in Sri Lanka live on less than $5 a day. Poverty is seen in in affluent areas as well as in rural areas. 85% of poor families live in rural areas. Around 21% of the population in Sri Lanka is malnourished, with 17.3% of children having stunted growth.
This volunteer project is best suited to pre-medical and medical students, aiming to gain valuable experience in a real life hospital setting. You will be observing patients alongside a doctor or nurse at one of the oldest and largest hospitals in Kandy, Sri Lanka.
Volunteering on this project, your main role is to observe or monitor the patients, treatments, techniques, and assist professional doctors and nurses working at the hospital. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about overseas healthcare and to share your knowledge with the staff.
Medical Internship, Vietnam
Although improving, around 10% of the population in Vietnam sits below the poverty line. In 2016 around 33% of the rural population in Vietnam did not have access to clean water. Although Vietnam is doing better than some Southeast Asian countries, it does still suffer from a malnutrition problem in children below 5 years of age. 24.2% of women in Vietnam are believed to have anaemia, and around 5.5% of men have diabetes.
This volunteer project is best suited to pre-medical and medical students, aiming to gain valuable experience in a real life hospital setting. You will be placed within a busy government operated hospital, serving various communities within Ho Chi Minh City.
You will have an incredible opportunity to shadow medical professionals such as nurses, doctors, and specialist therapists. The hospital has a physiotherapy department, children’s ward, x-ray ward, operating theatre and emergency room, all of which you can get involved with. You may also have an opportunity to observe staff in the acupuncture and occupational/physical therapy departments.
Please keep in mind that the English level of the local staff does differ, but you will always be supported by one of our English speaking local coordinators. Volunteers are allowed to be involved with medical issues and ask the staff questions.
For all our medical programs, please see our healthcare page.
We also have several public health and nutrition programs!