Recently during class we went over the topic of medical volunteerism, which has to do with visiting certain areas in other countries that may not have the same medical resources that there are in the United States and assisting those in need of medical help. We read an article that had to do with medical volunteerism being an issue, due to several ethical and antiseptic reasons. The program allows inexperienced high school students assist people who are in need of medical health and sometimes, that means life or death.
In the blog post, “The Trouble with Medical “Voluntourism””, we learned that there is a program called “Projects Abroad” that allows people whom are at least 16 years of age, “lack prior medical experience and don’t speak the language” to travel and receive experience that people usually get two to five years after medical school. They travel to counties of lower income and developing countries such as, Tanzania, Ghana, Cambodia, India, Nepal, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Honduras. This program “touts itself as a “Doctors without Borders Alternative.”” The purpose of high school students taking advantage of this opportunity is so that they can begin gathering experience to put on to their resume, so that by the time they apply to medical school they can have a higher chance of getting in.
These students are way more focused on themselves rather than what the opportunity entitles them to do. They take this opportunity as a chance to make themselves look better and prepare for medical school to serve as doctor in the United States. It seems like many students say that they’re doing it for a good cause but in reality it’s to get the experience that they need in order be a top choice for their desired medical school.
There are also ethical and antiseptic issues that take a role when it comes to partaking in this event. According to the blog post, The Trouble with Medical “Voluntourism, the same program, “Projects Abroad” allows students to deliver babies, remove teeth, and even do “unnecessary episiotomies and pulling breech babies”. These all can be dangerous because if you aren’t using the right equipment, cleaning the area of that person’s body with the right items or doing things correctly, that situation can become life or death.
I personally believe that these people shouldn’t allow high school students to take this “opportunity”. No matter how good it looks on their resume for medical school, they are dealing with fragile conditions that others are going through and using it to make themselves look better.