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Volunteer Overseas

Medical Elective Placements in Bolivia

  • Placement location: Cochabamba
  • Role: To gain experience from local staff and add to your previous medical training
  • Requirements: You must speak Spanish to an intermediate level. You must be currently studying at university for a degree in Medicine. If you are not an elective student please go to our standard Medicine project in Bolivia page
  • Type of placements: Hospitals and health centres
  • Accommodation: Host family
  • Price: From Loading...
  • What’s included? Qualified supervisor, food, accommodation, transfers to and from our specified airport, transport to and from work where required, insurance, personal webpage, induction and orientation, 24/7 support
  • What’s not included? Flights, visa costs, spending money
  • Length of placement: From 4 weeks
  • Start dates: Flexible

If you choose to do your Medical Elective in Bolivia, you will most likely be working in a hospital or health centre in Cochabamba. There are placements for elective students at various 'Centros de Salud', public health clinics that offer free medical care to everyone in Cochabamba.

With very basic facilities, the health clinics attend to mostly minor emergencies, accidents and routine visits. There is insufficient funding to maintain the facilities in complete working order, or provide the hospital with sufficient staff or materials. Elective students and volunteers are therefore needed to help and your work will be greatly appreciated.

Options for Elective Students

Medical Elective volunteer examines a little girl in Bolivia

At the Centros de Salud you have the opportunity to work in a variety of departments; possible options include paediatrics and gynaecology. You can also get involved in community work, including vaccination programmes, which the clinics organise throughout the year. You will spend time shadowing and learning from the qualified staff in the clinics. You can take part in basic medical tasks such as bandaging, taking blood pressure and dressing wounds.

The doctor may also need help in the surgery room, passing equipment and monitoring patients. The exact nature of work you do, will depend on your chosen specialism. This will be organised before you depart. Projects Abroad will liaise with your university to ensure your Elective module requirements are met.

Supervision on Your Elective

You will be given a supervisor who will coordinate your placement. They will be keen to test out your knowledge, as well as giving you the benefit of their training and experience. The more enthusiasm you show, and more trust you build up with the staff, the more responsibility you will be given. By working hard, you will get a truly rewarding experience within these medical clinics.

Elective students in Bolivia should be aged 18 or older and will need intermediate Spanish in order to communicate directly with the majority of doctors and patients. If you lack confidence in your Spanish language ability, take a Spanish Language course or join a Teaching or Care project before joining your Medicine & Healthcare programme. This gives you the opportunity to improve your language skills before starting the medical part of your placement.

You will live with a host family while carrying out your Elective in Bolivia. In your free time you can experience the vibrant city of Cochabamba and take part in various Projects Abroad activities.

Please be aware that most universities have deadlines by which time your Elective application paperwork must be completed. If your university needs information on the hospital or clinic in which you will be placed, or requires forms to be signed by your project supervisor, we strongly advise completing our application form at least one month before this deadline. We can only provide this detailed information once you have applied and been accepted onto an Elective placement with us.

If you have any questions please call us on 01273 007230.

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