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Wilkommen to my blog - my name is Karin Purshouse, and I'm a doctor in the UK. If you're looking for ramblings on life as a junior doctor, my attempts to dual-moonlight as a scientist and balancing all that madness with a life, you've come to the right place. I'm currently a doctor/research trainee in oncology after spending a year doing research in the USA. All original content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Global Health and the Medical Student

This is only intended as a brief post, to link in with my recent post reflecting on the recent attendance of Medsin-UK at the International Federation of Medical Student Associations (IFMSA) General Assembly (GA) in Accra, Ghana.  If you're interested, you can read it here, or go to the Medsin-UK blogs.

Dr Ankomah and the apprentice, 2008
It seems apt that the brilliant team of UK medical students have just returned from the place that really confirmed my interest in medicine in the first place.  As a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed 17-year-old, I fundraised to go to Ghana for a month and worked in a hospital near Accra. I was also lucky to work in more rural areas, delivering a couple of outreach health workshops.  The experience taught me both the basics of medicine at a time when I was struggling to see beyond A-Levels, never mind university, and gave me an insight into the realities of health care in another country.  I loved it so much, I returned to West Africa after my second year at Medical School as a backpacker around Ghana, Togo and Benin.  Of course, no trip would have been complete without popping in to see Dr Ankomah, and I hope to return at some point when I'm qualified.  I have been something of a backpacking enthusiast but the more places I see in the world, the more I realise I have yet to experience.  The diversity of world is truly exciting.  But unfortunately the diversity extends to the quality of healthcare, perpetuated by the different healthcare challenges facing each corner of the world.

I'm no expert in Global Health, but my time at Newcastle University has facilitated many situations where I have learned more about it.  Early on, as a fresher, I trained with the Newcastle branch of Sexpression to deliver sexual health education to young people in Newcastle, and it was interesting to contrast these experiences with those of our outreach projects in Ghana.  It was through further work with Medsin-UK as part of the committee for the Global Health Conference here in Newcastle, and through attending the IFMSA meeting in Copenhagen last Autumn, that I really learned a lot more about the role medical students have to play in the global health message.  I think what I find most exciting is that global health often starts at home; we can challenge the health inequalities we have right here on our doorstep.  It is particularly exciting to hear about the Global Health Education Project, which promotes Global Health Education as an integral part of medical education.  Sometimes it can seem daunting and unachievable as a medical student to get involved in these various projects, but local activities are a great place to start.  

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