An experienced Filipino doctor deliver
babies day in and day out as her colleague, a South African
anesthesiologist, helps mothers endure the toughest deliveries.
And in Burundi...
Full Name: Divina
SRI LANKA | BURUNDI
In this episode, in the obstetric ward in Mallavi, Sri Lanka, a
premature baby dies because of bleeding in his lungs. What causes
Pulminary hemorrhage, lung complications (like respiratory
distress syndrome), and respiratory failure are frequent causes
of death in premature infants, especially those without access to
the most modern medical equipment. Final development of a special
substance that prevents the lungs from collapsing (surfactant) occurs
during the last few months of gestation. A child born before surfactant
has developed is at high risk for complications such as respiratory
distress syndrome (RDS), which usually affects premature babies.
Without modern treatment in a neonatal intensive care unit, the
infant will die within a few days after birth. Another reason the
baby’s lungs might bleed is liver dysfunction, also common
in premature babies. When the liver is functioning properly, blood
will coagulate normally. If the liver is malfunctioning, abnormal
bleeding will occur.
In the Burundi segment of this episode, both
doctors are very young and one does not have any surgical experience.
What are the criteria for medical volunteers?
The general criteria for volunteering are at least
2 years professional experience, availability for at least 6 months,
flexibility, experience in developing countries, and language skills.
The average age for MSF volunteers is 37. Primary care physicians
undertake a combination of curative care and teaching/administrative
duties, with the balance varying according to the project. Although
it is desirable to have minor surgical and obstetrical experience,
it is not required.
The work at the Burundi hospital is very intense.
Do volunteer medical personnel get vacation? If so, for how long?
Can they fly home? Who takes over for them while they are gone?
Volunteers who are on a six-month (or more) mission
receive one week of leave for every three months of work. They might
be compensated for travel within the region, but do not receive
a paid ticket home. While they are away, their national counterpart
takes over their duties.