Recently there was an article in Medscape about volunteering on Mercy Ships which go to Africa to perform surgery on the desperately deprived. There is no doubt that this would be a fantastic experience but as the comments section of the article revealed, there are certain drawbacks and limitations of this type of volunteering such as;
- The dollar cost and substantial opportunity cost of going.
- The fact that, for example, a paediatric endocrinologist or a rheumatologist is not exactly what’s needed nor a specialist cardiologist or a dermatologist.
- The time away from one’s family and one’s own patients back home. (Usually many months.)
I think this is where the Twice the Doctor concept comes in. Just one day’s work a year (or part thereof) and you can effectively empower/ train/employ the precisely required African health worker for the most pressing medical needs. These doctors and nurses speak the local language and use their wages to help enrich the local community. They are also there for effective follow up. The training is often specific in order to avoid “brain drain” through emigration.
It would certainly be an unforgettable experience to work on a Mercy Ship but in reality we can all do a whole lot of good for African patients without ever leaving shore.
Remember, Twice the Doctor is about using your heart AND your head to leverage your medical skills for maximum effect to help developing world patients.
Regards to all
(on behalf of the directors of TTD)
- Doctors Day in May is this Friday.
- Your contribution is fully tax deductible.
- The directors of TTD cover all the administration fees of the foundation so your donation goes even further.