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Izzy’s Medical Volunteering in India


Over the summer, Izzy who is now in College II, spent a month in India working as a medical volunteer based in New Dehli. Here she lived within a volunteer house, home to around 30 other volunteers from all over the world, all there with a shared purpose to help the local communities of India. As a medical volunteer, Izzy was able to help with various projects each day, typically involving: 

  • Medical camps  
  • Hospital tours and patient rounds 
  • Clinics (such as ultrasound)
  • Surgery

“Each of these options I found incredibly interesting and insightful. The most heart-wrenching ones but arguably the best were the medical camps and surgery.” – Izzy explains, emphasising the variety of opportunities she was able to experience.  

The medical camps were situated across Faridabad, in local villages, in residential homes for the elderly, and on the outskirts of slums. Tasks included administrating medication, manual blood pressure checks, and delivery of glucose and injections to those in need. Each camp was overseen by one doctor who would advise on medication and assist with the language barrier. With each camp treating up to 40 patients in any given morning, the population’s healthcare crisis was evident – simply due to the majority being unable to afford healthcare and without access to GPs.  

“I learnt in a short time how to take manual blood pressure, take blood sugar, do inter muscular injections, understand what the patient was suffering with through non-verbal cues, know the medications to prescribe/give and how to tell them in Hindi when they should take them and how many. By the end of my 4 weeks, I felt incredibly grateful for the opportunity and trust that was put in me and how it just shows if you trust and believe in a person what can be achieved.” 

Izzy championed the importance of volunteering organisations such as ‘Plan My Gap Year’ in allowing individuals, like her, to make such a difference and to help wherever they can.  

 Alongside volunteering at the medical camps, Izzy was given the opportunity to assist in multiple surgeries, confirming “some of the best were spinal surgery, facial reconstructive surgery, hysterectomy with a bilateral salpingo oophorectomy, C section and many more.”  

 Although fascinating, and informative, Izzy detailed the harrowing differences between surgeries in India compared with the UK, “At first, one of the hardest things to face within surgery was that about 90% of the surgical procedures I saw were not done under general anaesthetic, the patients would often be given a spinal anaesthetic (epidural) alongside sedation and therefore be awake.” 

During her downtime, Izzy was able to travel to India and absorb the cultures around her. Izzy visited the hometown of the Dalai Lama, the holy city of Pushkar, Jaipur the pink city and Agra the home of the Taj Mahal. Towards the end of her stay, Izzy toured a town in the district of Nainital, in the foothills of the Himalayas and visited numerous temples and tombs. “These places I had the privilege of visiting were all incredibly beautiful.” 

Reflecting on her visit to a girl’s orphanage, Izzy was reminded of The Mount School. “Here with the girls, I created amazing memories and also saw how much they are taught and brought up to believe they can become someone in this world and not just follow the jobs and ideas that old India sometimes has. These girls wanted to be engineers and police officers. The orphanage made me think of The Mount and how they shared some of the same values in teaching the girls to be independent, strive for their full potential and always be kind. Even though there are fundamental differences between the two, it shows that no matter religion or culture the same values can be taught no matter where.” 

Offering her advice to fellow peers interested in experiencing something similar, Izzy shares First of all, go for it! It will be hard and challenging but the best experiences always are, you learn new things about the world, meet amazing people who have the same values and interests as you. I’d advise that if you are thinking of doing it, make sure you have done your research into the country and that you know what you are letting yourself in for, being informed means that you can enjoy your experience. I would also say go in with an open mind, go with the flow, be positive and just enjoy every minute you are there, the time soon flies and before you know it you are back home. 

I wanted to finish by saying doing such a trip as this is not for everyone but it sure is an amazing experience, that I was lucky enough to have the privilege of doing.” 

View the incredible gallery of Izzy’s travels here 

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