Volunteer in Health Education Abroad

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A Guide to Volunteering Abroad in Health Education

Health education is one of the most in-demand types of international volunteer placements across the world. Many countries are deeply in need of competent, well-educated health professionals who can bring expertise and information to local communities and help stop the spread of disease, prevent illness, and care for those struggling with various ailments. As important as health awareness and education is, especially in underdeveloped countries, volunteering in health education will be most definitely be fulfilling. If you’re looking to be part of a movement “bigger than yourself”, then volunteering abroad in health education is it.

Why Volunteer Abroad

Many countries without the medical infrastructure of medically-advanced nations suffer from high mortality rates and viral illnesses that spread rapidly. One of the quickest, cheapest, and easiest ways to stop the spread of disease and prevent sickness is to educate people about the dangers associated with certain behaviors and a general lack of proper hygiene and sanitation. Health education volunteers will find themselves solving some of the most pertinent health needs of local communities, and at the same time contribute to the prevention of health crises through essential education.

Volunteering abroad in health education offers a very distinct perspective into life for a variety of people in different parts of the world. For instance, volunteering in HIV/AIDS support centers in Kenya will give you insight on Kenya’s health care woes and political backlog that keep real infrastructure from protecting the general public. By increasing your understanding of the field on a global level, you will be expanding your professional skills, ability to successfully communicate cross-culturally, and experience working with people dealing with a variety of issues, both medically and socially. Having face to face interactions with patients and building relationships with the people you serve will build your versatility as a healthcare professional and bolster your adaptability, in what is known to be a field wrought with strenuous circumstances.

Locations

Many countries without the medical infrastructure of medically-advanced nations suffer from high mortality rates and viral illnesses that spread rapidly. One of the quickest, cheapest, and easiest ways to stop the spread of disease and prevent sickness is to educate people about the dangers associated with certain behaviors and a general lack of proper hygiene and sanitation. Health education volunteers will find themselves solving some of the most pertinent health needs of local communities, and at the same time contribute to the prevention of health crises through essential education.

Volunteering abroad in health education offers a very distinct perspective into life for a variety of people in different parts of the world. For instance, volunteering in HIV/AIDS support centers in Kenya will give you insight on Kenya’s health care woes and political backlog that keep real infrastructure from protecting the general public. By increasing your understanding of the field on a global level, you will be expanding your professional skills, ability to successfully communicate cross-culturally, and experience working with people dealing with a variety of issues, both medically and socially. Having face to face interactions with patients and building relationships with the people you serve will build your versatility as a healthcare professional and bolster your adaptability, in what is known to be a field wrought with strenuous circumstances.

Locations

Health education is needed most in countries where government and infrastructure systems have failed to provide an adequate system of communication, education, and care. There are nations all over the world which have unique healthcare needs that cannot be adequately met by the local healthcare industry, and it is in these nations that health education volunteers are needed most!

Kenya. Health education volunteer work in Kenya often aims to educate people on the dangers of HIV/AIDS and how to help stop the spread of the disease. This means not only working in clinics to inform people of prevention measures, it also means you will be able to help combat the spread of HIV/AIDS through means of advertisements and social media campaigns for the public.

India. Volunteering in health education in India tends to involve streamlining healthcare, in what is being called the fastest growing country in the world. Working as a volunteer in health education in India may entail providing additional resources to hospitals or clinics, teaching local health care professionals techniques of treatment, and educating locals about the ways to properly manage various basic health issues without needing extensive medical advice and treatment.

Vietnam has a need for more widespread health education and greater understanding of mental and physical disabilities. Due to a lack of resources, kids with disabilities are often left without proper care and lack physical therapy and other care to meet their potential. Vietnam needs health volunteers who can provide support to people with disabilities, while also breaking stereotypes and increasing awareness about how to care for kids with mental or physical disabilities.

Peru. Health education programs in Peru are focused on providing basic care to people who do not otherwise have the means to receive it, and teaching people to provide basic care for themselves and their families at home. This means basic dental cleanings and care, vaccinations, and medications for some minor illnesses, in most placements. Most health volunteers in Peru are placed at clinics to assist local professionals.

These are only a few examples of locations where you can volunteer abroad in health education; luckily there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer in health education all over the world.

Volunteering in Health Education

People who volunteer abroad in health education usually participate in programs that share some key characteristics. First, there is usually a lot of safety awareness involved. Health education in underdeveloped countries usually means sharing information about how disease spreads and how illnesses are contracted.

Additionally, in many countries where help is needed most, sanitation is not of general standard in various respects. A second common characteristic of volunteering in health education is encouraging sanitary practices. Volunteers may, for example, focus on sharing the benefits of keeping your hands and face clean or properly preparing food to ensure it will not make someone sick.

Health education volunteer placements are very common in rural or low-income health clinics, and in some countries there may be strictly volunteer-operated clinics. These clinics are often located in impoverished neighborhoods or villages and provide general medical care, vaccinations, and dentistry to those who can’t afford it. These clinics need health education volunteers to provide advice to patients and community members about general safety and sanitation practices to avoid future sickness, care for wounds, or provide basic at home care for their family members.

If you are a medical professional or student, are interested in medicine and health care, or have a background in any health profession, there are multiple organizations that need your help. Medical professionals with specific licenses or professional degrees will be able to utilize their skills by helping to provide healthcare services to patients.

Although many health education volunteer placements require volunteers who are certified doctors or nurses, there are also many programs for people who have little to no medical background, who can act as medical assistants or offer basic health education. Although there are tasks that require a certified doctor or nurse, there are plenty of tasks that students or people who have little to no medical background can complete, such as patient intake or sharing awareness campaigns. Just be sure to check experience requirements before applying to volunteer in health education abroad. If you don’t see any requirements listed, ask. With health education, it’s especially important to have the certified people in the right place.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

Volunteering abroad in health education will give you a unique perspective of another culture, political structure, health system, and country unlike any you would get by simply traveling abroad.

Health education volunteers will be able to build language skills, learn how to properly communicate health safety, and build lasting relationships with individuals from another culture.

Whether you are a medical student, health professional, or simply someone with a desire to provide health education, volunteering abroad will develop skills that will be applicable in both your personal and professional life. Seeing the medical resources available to people in other countries will give you an appreciation for the care available in medically-advanced countries. Healthcare professionals will specifically become more confident and versatile employees as well.

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Banner Report 2018

A Guide To
Volunteering Abroad in Health Education

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