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What’s The Best International Healthcare Training?

Kalukembe Doctors 1989


As a medical student I dreamed of sharpening my skills on behalf of the world’s most poor. I dreamed of attending the esteemed John’s Hopkins School of Public Health, taking the diploma course at the London or Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. What escaped my notice at the time was that I could spend years in such institutions and never actually care for a person suffering from measles or malaria. The most valuable learning experience actually proved to be none of the above. One afternoon shortly after arriving in at the Kalukembe Hospital in Angola a mother brought her five-year old child to me urinating blood. I supposed that, just like similar patients back in the United States, he was suffering from a urinary tract infection. I mentioned my diagnosis to my supervisor, Andreas Rohner, the Swiss physician to the left in the above photo. Andreas chucked, “No Nicholas,” he mused, “the boy has urinary schistosomiasis.” Sure enough, his urine analysis demonstrated the schistosome eggs.


Now clearly some individuals learn best via reading or seeing. But most of us, myself included, experience learning most powerfully through real-life experiences. I’d read about schistosomiasis before. But the experience of actually caring for such a patient proved far more beneficial. It’s this line of reasoning that is the foundation of INMED’s Diploma, and Fellowship programs. Little else matches the high learning value of supervised, mentored service-learning experiences.

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