For my medical school elective I spent 10 weeks in Nepal working at a mission hospital. I spent half the time in paediatrics and half on the medical ward. There were also large surgical, orthopaedic and maternity departments. The staff is made up of mostly Nepali doctors, with a small number of mission doctors from overseas. I would like to specialise in paediatrics in the future, so I was very excited to work on the paediatric ward first.
The hospital recently opened a neonatal high dependency unit, increasing their capacity to care for preterm and very sick babies. While I was there, 3 babies were born before 28 weeks of gestation. I learned that in the US with all of its resources, babies born at that stage have a 50% chance of survival. At the time that I left, two out of three of the babies were still alive and improving well. So many people were praying for these babies, and it was a huge encouragement to the staff in the neonatal HDU to see them doing so well against the odds.
I learned about many diseases that I was not at all used to seeing in the UK, such as TB, rheumatic heart disease, dengue, leprosy and typhoid. At first I had to look lots of things up when I got home in the evenings, but I enjoyed learning about the different signs and symptoms that it’s important to be aware of for this population. The doctors were all very friendly and helpful, and they were really keen to help me learn which was brilliant.
Throughout my time in Nepal I saw so many instances of God showing me that he was with me. My elective helped me to learn to trust him with all the small parts of every day. No two days were the same, and there were so many new and unknown things for me. But I was able to take on the excitement and challenges of each day when I remembered that I wasn’t doing any of it on my own. As I start work as a doctor in the UK, I hope that I will remember that and be able to keep looking for what God is doing in the small moments as well as the big things.
One of the best parts about my elective was getting to meet so many new people. I got to make some great friends that I will definitely be keeping in touch with. Many of the doctors really welcomed me into their lives for the short time that I was there, and I even went on a mini road trip with one doctor and his whole family to go and visit the village where his grandmother lived! It was wonderful to be part of the community for a few months, and I will carry those fond memories with me for a long time.
It is difficult to express all the different things I learned and experienced while I was on my elective in just a few paragraphs! I can confidently say that I think this time will be foundational for the rest of my career as a doctor and also for my faith. I want to thank Medical Missionary News and all their supporters for generously enabling me to have this opportunity. I really appreciate your prayers and support, it really made such a difference to me!