Island practice proves to be a worthy elective

Travelling to Vanuatu for a working holiday may not be everyone’s idea of relaxation but I have always thought that a medical degree is a universal qualification and working overseas with it offers a wonderful way of seeing other countries, their health systems and a unique way of meeting the ‘locals’.

Three weeks on the island of  Espiritu Santo gave an insight into some of the medical problems faced when there are no CTs and x-rays: the FBC and electrolytes are the mainstay of investigations. The WHO provision of screening kits for malaria were certainly a boon when investigating fevers.

Relying on clinical skills mixed with an enormous amount of guess work, luck and prayer can certainly be testing.  

Dealing with uncertainty and realising the distances people travel to see you is humbling.

Most work was done in the daily out-patients’ clinic where the major problem was learning sufficient Pidgin