On a daily basis in the program, I would usually come to the hospital and shadow a physician in either the pediatric, cornea, or glaucoma clinic. From this time, you have the opportunity to prod physicians about patients’ conditions, interact with patients, and learn a variety of clinical skills in the diagnosis of disease. The physicians were all very welcoming and responsive to questions posed by participants. Usually after shadowing, we would head to the physicians lunch quarters. After eating lunch, you would either have the opportunity to spend time in a different clinic or observe surgery. Because of the opportunity to participate in different clinics, I felt the program offered great flexibility and allowed me to see different things on a day to day basis.
In addition to our time at the hospital, each week we were sent to outreach camps. At outreach camps, health care workers from the hospital were sent to remote villages to perform basic clinical care for underserved populations and identify patients with disease that could be corrected. Those that required intervention would either be given medication or taken back on a bus to the main hospital in New Delhi, India for surgical intervention. From these camps, I learned a lot about global health, lack of health care access, and a variety of clinical skills with basic instruments such as a flashlight.
The program coordinator was very helpful planning events for us throughout the country. She set up excursions to the Taj Mahal in Agra and for the participants to see a nearby historic city called Jaipur. In addition to these adventures, we received advice on a variety of tourist destinations to visit in New Delhi including Khan Market, Connaught Place, Qutab Minar, and much more. The program offered participants plenty of time and opportunity to experience these touristy sites. Furthermore, we often had the opportunity to just hang out at local shopping malls, complexes, and coffee shops.
Overall I think the experience has been rewarding and has made me more appreciative of my circumstances, given me a better understanding of the socio-economic aspects that lead to poor health, and inspired me to continue participating in global health campaigns. In addition, I have learned a great deal about India’s rich culture, history, and people. So if you are someone who wants to have an impact on others, contribute to helping provide medical services for the underserved and those internationally all while gaining essential clinical skills, I would highly recommend the CFHI program!
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
As a program participant in the CFHI program.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Although I understand that the primary focus of this program was in eye care, I wish that we had some time to spend in a general hospital so as to learn other conditions pertaining to different aspects of the body.
Would you volunteer for this group again?
For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
Did the organization use your time wisely?
Would you recommend this group to a friend?
What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?
I would improve the range of hospitals that participants get to work in. The hospital we worked in was solely focused on eye care and the treatment of eye disease.
Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)
I learned a variety of clinical skills and gained a better understanding of the culture, people, and history. The experience also certainly has given me a new perspective on the factors that contribute to poor health, an understanding of the Indian health care system, and increased my exposure to patients from under-served backgrounds.
How did this volunteer experience make you feel?
This experience made me feel part of a campaign that was making a difference in people's lives, because the hospital provided almost free eye care and surgical treatment to the under-served population. Certainly without this organization, many would have to continue to live with either decreased or a complete lack of vision.
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?