Thoughts On Solutions For Medical Voluntourism

I just posted about medical voluntourism, but it is a topic that I feel strongly about so I thought I would share some of my thoughts from the class discussion on finding a solution to the problem. Two major problems that I am going to focus on are: people are attending this trips for the wrong reasons, and people going in with hopes in accomplishing much more than they are capable or trained to do. I came up with a few ways to ensure that a higher number of people are going into these third world countries with a better mindset and for the right reasons.

Like I mentioned in the previous paragraph, there are many people that attend these trips with the wrong intentions. One possible solution would be to create a more strict process that candidates would have to complete before being chosen to attend a medical voluntourism trip. For example, implementing a research paper on the culture of the country of the trip would create a way for students to become more culturally aware before stepping into communities. I remember talking in group discussion in class about how in some countries eating with your right hand is considered unsanitary. That is just one example of how a research paper would both narrow down the number of candidates who may attend for the wrong reasons since there is a work load in the application, and educate those attending on how to act and diversify in their culture.

The other topic I mentioned was how groups will often go into these communities in third world countries with the “savior” mindset, or hopes to accomplish more than possible or allowing unqualified students give medical treatment. For example, we talked in this course about how students, college-aged, are delivering babies on these voluntourism trips. This is clearly a huge problem that should not be allowed, and possible solution for this would be to put a policy in place for all organizations that run medical voluntourism trips. To elaborate, if there were a policy in place that provided strict guidelines for what these groups were and weren’t allowed to do, that must be followed by all medical voluntourism groups, that could help prevent things like unqualified students delivering babies from occurring. Whether it be something put in place by the United States government or whomever it may be, a policy with punishment such as termination in that group or organization from holding future trips, seems like a viable solution.


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