Opportunity for Out of Programme Experience at MRC Unit The Gambia
Do you want to experience clinical practice in a low resource setting? How about doing this in a tropical beach-side setting embedded in a centre known for internationally significant medical research?
The School of Paediatrics, Health Education England North East (HEE NE) and the Clinical Services Department of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Unit The Gambia are looking for enthusiastic paediatric registrars (ST4 and above) who would like to spend 6 - 12 months volunteering at the MRC Clinical Department in Fajara, The Gambia. No previous experience of tropical medicine is required.
Established in 1947, the MRC Unit The Gambia represents the UK’s major public investment in medical research in developing countries. Its vision is to save lives and improve health across the developing world by achieving excellence in research, training and healthcare. The Unit works closely with the Gambia Ministry of Health and has a varied international staff complement with appointments from some 24 countries, as well as many visiting researchers. The main field station is in Fajara on the coast and comprises laboratories, a hospital, computer centre, offices, workshops, residential accommodation, etc. There are field stations ‘upcountry’ – Basse and Keneba and a field site (Walikunda) – each in a different ecological setting providing varied research opportunities.
The Clinical Services Department in Fajara exists to provide medical services to MRC staff, study participants and to the general public. This is done through 4 interlinked services:
- Nurse-led Gate Clinic which sees up to 150 patients each working day
- Staff Clinic which provides primary healthcare to Unit staff and their families
- Outpatient Clinic (OPC) which is doctor-led and provides care to those referred from the Gate Clinic and from study sites
- Hospital comprising 42-beds for inpatients admitted through the OPC.
These services offer general medicine and paediatric care. There are no surgical or obstetric facilities at Fajara. Patients with “tropical” diseases such as severe acute malnutrition and malaria are seen regularly and there are specialist clinics for patients with tuberculosis and liver disease. Extensive laboratory facilities support full investigation of all patients.
Volunteers will work alongside the medical officers and research clinicians on the wards and in the outpatient department under the supervision of 3 consultants (a paediatrician, a general adult physician and a family physician). They are expected to contribute to the on-call rota, to take part in the department’s CPD activities and to undertake a clinical audit or help to develop guidelines for the department. They could also use their time in the unit to teach medical students, network with research staff and may be able to extend their stay by moving into a research setting. It may be possible to spend a short time visiting a field station.
This post is unpaid but comes with free on-site accommodation and return flights to The Gambia. Pre-departure training and overall OOPE supervision will be provided by Dr Stephen Owens, Consultant Paediatrician at the Great North Children’s Hospital, Newcastle.