Egypt, Spring 2015 4th year Elective
Cameroon, Summer 2012
"I spent the last month of my fourth year of medical school in Aswan, Egypt. Situated in the south of Egypt on the Nile lies a small tourist town where the legendary Sir Dr. Magdy Yacoub, a world-renowned cardiothoracic surgeon, opened the Aswan Heart Center. It is a non-profit, non-governmental center that provides free health care to all Egyptians.
"I spent one month there, and learned so much! I spent the majority of my time in the cardiology department, but had the opportunity to see some very rare surgical cases and interesting pediatric cases that came in. Since this is predominantly a heart center, I had the opportunity to distinguish different heart sounds, understand the different diseases that affect third world countries (Rheumatic Heart disease), and see some very rare and interesting cases. I got to see transposition of the great arteries repair surgery in two-week-old babies, attend a conference with Dr. Borgata and Dr. Magdy Yacoub who are leaders in their respective fields, which was all very educational.
"I also spent the summer between my first and second year of medical school in Cameroon with the Drexel Cameroon Club and I learned a tremendous amount in Cameroon as well. This, however, was different in that there was a more organized curriculum, and I was looking for how third world countries can adopt and maintain international health care standards in hospitals. I think that everyone should have the opportunity to experience global health electives as it is very helpful to see how medicine is practiced in different parts of the world, and also helps with communicating with patients here in the U.S. when knowing more about different cultures.
"The patient population mostly spoke Arabic, and it helped that I understood some Arabic; however, the discussions during rounds and between the health care team was all in English, so it is not necessary to speak Arabic. When I wasn’t in the hospital, I was exploring the great city of Aswan -- from Philae temple, to the Valley of the Kings, to the Pyramids (in Cairo). I would highly recommend this rotation for anyone interested in any specialty, in particular Medicine or Cardiology."