Volunteer Opportunities Overseas

Anaesthetist in Papua New Guinea - 6 months

Healthcare workers in the provincial hospitals located in the highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG), a region in PNG known for the high incidence of gender based violence (GBV) and tribal fights, see injuries related to either transport or violence on a day-to-day base. Hospitals report high admissions of patients with lacerations, abscesses, blunt soft tissue injuries and fractures or dislocations. According to the National Health Plan, injuries account for 8% of total admissions and 11% of the total burden of disease in the country. Many of the injuries reported are believed to be either transport or violence related. 

Tari provincial hospital, Hela province, is one of the hospitals in the highlands region that provides surgical care on a day-to-day basis. The surgical ward, consisting of 40 beds, sees around 130 patients a month. Due to the lack of local capacity in medical specialist services such as obstetrics and gynaecology, general surgery and anaesthesiology, hospitals are reliant on outside partners or the international recruitment of medical specialists. 

Being located in one the most volatile provinces in PNG the Tari provincial hospital has seen support from different stakeholders, such as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). Operating in Tari hospital since 2007, MSF has delivered services in the areas of family and sexual violence services, obstetrics and gynaecology, surgical consultation and anaesthesiology support. 

With MSF retreating out of Tari hospital in March 2016, a gap in the delivery of specialised medical services such as those provided by surgeons, obstetricians and gynaecologists and anaesthesiologists is anticipated. In light of these gaps in health service delivery in Tari provincial hospital, VSO has been approached to support Tari hospital with medical specialist services. This is where you will come in… 

As the anaesthesiologist in Tari provincial hospital you will work in a dual role delivering perioperative care and capacity build the resident health care professionals and staff through service provision and mentoring on patient management. You will responsible for: 

  • Delivering quality perioperative care in emergency surgery (predominantly trauma and emergency obstetric interventions) and with this providing clinical supervision and anaesthetic pre-assessment of patients
  • Developing an anaesthetic plan and the administration of anaesthetics (general anaesthesia, sedation and regional anaesthesia) 
  • Providing support the local staff in the provision of comprehensive emergency surgery care 
  • Assisting in the development of surgical programming, implementation of national and international standards where needed 
  • Providing on-the-job training to hospital staff and healthcare students 
  • Forecasting medical supply needs and managing medical stocks 
  • Along with the OR case team, participating and leading in preoperative, intra operative and post-operative assessments and procedures 
  • Leading the recovery room, providing care for patients immediately after surgery 
  • Providing advice to hospital management on policy matters on standards of care and improvement programmes

Skills, qualifications and experience required

If you are looking for a placement in which you can directly contribute to an improved health status of men, women and children, and you fit the below profile, do not hesitate to apply. 

  • Medical degree with post graduate qualification (certification) in anaesthetics/anaesthesiology and intensive care (Basic Certificate of Competency in Anaesthesia or equivalent) 
  • Valid medical license 
  • You have experience in advanced resuscitation training (ALS or equivalent) 
  • You have a minimum of three months' experience of intensive care medicine and are able to perform advanced resuscitation techniques 
  • You are competent to give general anaesthesia and spinal anaesthesia without supervision 
  • You have proven experience in emergency surgical care and ability to work under stress 
  • You have experience in training, coaching and supervision 

Additional requirements: 

  • Fluent English proficiency 
  • IT skills (Word, PowerPoint and Excel)
Funded Anaesthetic Placements within the Ugandan Maternal & Newborn Hub

Opportunities are available to support long term anaesthetic volunteers working within the frame of the Ugandan Maternal and Newborn Hub under its THET-funded ‘Sustainable Volunteering Project’.

Download flyer >

Meet VSO Events

Interested in volunteering abroad? Come and find out about volunteering with VSO and meet returned volunteers at Meet VSO events held monthly in various locations. These events aim to bring volunteering with VSO to life. Hear from returned volunteers giving an account of what it’s really like to be a VSO volunteer. There will be an informal presentation on VSO covering the practicalities involved in volunteering, and the skills and experience they look for. They have many opportunities for health professionals, including GPs, midwives, obstetricians and gynaecologists, paediatricians, surgeons, anaesthetists and more. Get your questions answered and chat informally with staff and returned volunteers. The event is free but booking is essential. Book your place now. For further information on volunteer placements, please visit the VSO website. Questions? Contact VSO on enquiry@vso.org.uk, or 020 8780 7500.

Volunteer abroad with VSO

Anaesthetic doctors play a vital role in preventing unnecessary deaths occurring before, during and after surgery. Ethiopia currently has one anaesthetist for every 5.3 million people, which amounts to 17 in the entire country. That is why VSO is urgently recruiting anaesthetists to volunteer in Ethiopia, they need your skills now!

Apply to volunteer abroad today by contacting Supporter Care at VSO by email on enquiry@vso.org.uk or call 020 8780 7500 or browse VSO placements online at www.vso.org.uk/volunteer/opportunities/health-hiv-and-aids/anaesthetists

Who VSO are looking for

VSO is  looking for registered anaesthetists with at least two years specialist experience at the time of going overseas (ST2 and above). That means you can volunteer as soon as you’ve completed your second year of specialty training, although of course the more experience the better. Previous experience in teaching, training and management is especially useful. Roles generally range from three months to two years. Currently there are roles in Ethiopia, however it is anticipated that more opportunities in other countries are likely to be created. 

What you’ll be doing

You’ll be playing a vital role in improving the skills of staff and raising the standard of health care in line with VSO’s strategy of stronger, more inclusive and accessible health systems, so that the poorest and most vulnerable populations in the country can realize their right to health. Responsibilities could include clinical mentorship with experience of both theoretical and practical session, clinical teaching of medical students, nurse anaesthetist students, peers and senior clinicians and supervised management of intensive care inpatients amongst others.

How VSO supports volunteers

VSO provides you with extensive training before your placement and the  financial package includes a local salary, return flights, accommodation, insurance and NHS pension contributions. When you return to your home country, we'll help you to resettle and many of our returned volunteers stay involved with us long after their placement ends.

Opportunities to meet returned volunteers

VSO hold a number of events where you can come along and hear more about volunteering and how to become a volunteer. This is a great opportunity to bring volunteering with VSO to life. You will hear from returned volunteers from a variety of backgrounds and professions, giving a personal account of what it is really like to be a VSO volunteer. There will be an informal presentation on VSO covering the practicalities involved in volunteering, and the skills and experience we look for. You will be able to get your questions answered and chat informally with staff and returned volunteers. To register for events please visit the website http://www.vso.org.uk/events/meet-vso 

Returned volunteers

VSO volunteer Dr Tom Bashford spent one year at a busy urban hospital alongside local health workers sharing simple practices that can mean the difference between life and death. Read about his volunteering experience here http://www.vso.org.uk/about/stories/reducing-the-surgical-death-rate-in-.... Tom made a lasting difference through his volunteering work. So, what’s stopping you?

Download full job description >

Download flyer >

Dr Tom Bashford won the AAGBI and MPS Safety Prize at Annual Congress 2012 for his volunteering work with VSO in Ethiopia.  Find out more about his experience by watching this You Tube video.

Irish Anaesthetists building lasting change in Ethiopia

Irish Anaesthetist building lasting change in Ethiopia

Eugene Egan, a VSO volunteer is a consultant anaesthetist who has previously worked for several years in Tanzania and is now a visiting Anaesthetist in Mekelle University College for Health Sciences in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. Dr Egan learnt of VSO vacancies in Anaesthesia through an advertisement last year and took the opportunity to revisit Africa and reprise his former teaching and planning roles.

In addition to his teaching and service commitments in Mekelle he has recently conducted a situational analysis of anaesthesia services in Tigray Region with his local counterpart Ato Kahsay. Tigray is a mainly mountainous areas bordering on Eritrea and Sudan with a population of over 5 million. All public hospitals providing surgical and anaesthetic services in this region were visited and surveyed. The report has provided the health authorities with data to inform their planning and support of anaesthetic services to meet the accelerating demand of an expanding surgical workforce in the region.

VSO is an international development organisation that works through volunteers to fight poverty. Volunteers like Eugene work with local counterparts to share their skills and experiences. More anaesthetists are urgently needed for our expanding health programmes across Africa and Asia. Visit www.vso.ie or call 01 640 1060 for more information. 

Join Reconstructive surgery teams in Sierra Leone

There are only 100 doctors in Sierra Leone. 10 are surgeons. One is an anaesthestist.

ReSurge Africa and the British Society for Surgery of the Hand are funding UK teams to train local doctors and treat hand surgery patients in Sierra Leone.

Why hands? Because without the use of your hands you cannot work, you cannot feed yourself or your family.

Full job description »

Teaching opportunity in northern Ethiopia

The city of Gondar is located in the mountainous highlands of Northern Ethiopia at an altitude of 2100m, with the stunning Simien Mountains to the north and Lake Tana – the source of the Blue Nile - to the south. Amharic is the local language, but the language of clinical teaching is English.

There is an ongoing project to deliver an MSc in clinical anaesthesia in Gondar University Hospital. This provides clinical teaching for the non-physician anaesthetists who provide the vast majority of anaesthetics in Ethiopia. For the MSc course to succeed, we are looking for tutors from the UK for periods of 3 – 6 months at a time.

Full job description »