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Global Health Education Student Experiences Nahreen Ahmed


Dhaka Medical College in Bangladesh
Winter 2010

"In February of 2010 I had the pleasure of embarking on a four-week-long rotation in Dhaka, Bangladesh, mainly at Dhaka Medical College where I worked day in and day out with the pediatric surgery team. I also had the opportunity to visit the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, which is also located in Dhaka. It was crucial in treating and helping to further prevent the Cholera outbreak in Bangladesh and has continued to expand its research beyond even diarrheal disease. I also had the opportunity to visit BRAC headquarters, one of the largest non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the world now operating in twelve countries to improve access to resources and health care in poor communities.

"Over the month-long period, I worked six days a week from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., sometimes longer, sometimes shorter shifts. The days included taking histories from new patients, presenting them on rounds and partaking in the educational conferences, including presenting a case I had observed. Over the month, I also had an opportunity to observe surgeries and tour the remainder of the hospital, including the general medicine wards, general surgical wards, emergency room and ambulatory care area.

"On a daily basis, I met with one of the surgical attending staff to discuss an interesting case or any learning points from the day. Given that I speak Bengali, it was obviously easier to take histories from the patients; however, despite that, the physical findings were incredible enough that my gaps in the language did not prohibit the educational value. Furthermore, rounds were conducted in English, which helped facilitate the learning process.

"This learning experience had multiple layers to it. Though I was not specifically interested in pediatric surgery, it was the department with the most support to conduct an international rotation at that time and it was the department with the most interesting physical findings. So many of the congenital defects I had witnessed that month were those that were discussed in anatomy as affecting a small percentage of patients. In fact, many times we were told that we may never see such defects in our practice. Another incredibly important layer of the experience was the introduction to global health medicine. I have always had an interest in global health, even while in medical school, and this experience cultivated that interest and led me to pursue a master's in public health, and I continue to pursue my interest in global health presently."

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