What is the Hospitals & Clinics Volunteering in Belize all about?
Volunteer in Central America and work in hospitals and clinics in Belize, serving citizens while learning about the healthcare setting. Lend a hand in a public polyclinic or private hospital that serve local citizens, regardless of income or social standing.
The polyclinic offers first line of care and gives locals access to free medicines. Departments include public health, vector control, dental, pharmacy, maternity and outpatients. The private hospital charges a fee for its services, so many on lower incomes prefer to use the services of this centre. The private hospital offers pediatric care, dentistry, gynaecology and a diabetes clinic. Both the hospital and the polyclinic refer more serious cases to Belmopan Hospital.
Join us in Belize as a medical volunteer and gain and support the local team of doctors, nurses and house staff with their daily duties while gaining an insight into the Belizean healthcare system.
Please let our advisors know when you apply whether you are interested in volunteering, an elective, a rotation or an internship. If you’re not sure, we can discuss the options with you!
Why choose this Work in Hospitals & Clinics project?
The polyclinic and hospital will benefit from your assistance to run various aspects of the clinics, from basic nursing care to surgeries. Your involvement alongside local experts will very much depend on your qualifications, experience, registration status and, of course, your willingness to help. There is not always a specialist from every area of medicine available, so any outside assistance is greatly appreciated from those who are medically trained to do so. As a volunteer, you will be able to add the experience to your CV/Resume for career purposes, as working in a different context with a cross-cultural team is valuable in many settings.
Role of the Healthcare Volunteer
This medical volunteer position is available to medical students and qualified professionals.
- Pre-medical volunteers with no experience will shadow local doctors and nursing staff at the polyclinic, getting involved where they are most needed with general hospital tasks. You will not be able to treat patients, as you do not have the training to do so (which would be the same at home), but you will have a great opportunity to see many aspects of the polyclinic, helping you to think more about your future career.
- Medical students (year 1 – 3) will be able to shadow local doctors and nursing staff at the polyclinic, gaining insight into the healthcare system, local illnesses not so common at home and how to work in a cross-cultural team. Medical students will rotate to departments, getting an insight into different aspects of the Belizean healthcare system. If you are a 4th-year medical student, you should consider the elective placement that is also offered, as this is a better fit for most medical degrees.
- Qualified medical professionals, once you have obtained your Temporary Work Permits, will have 1 week of intense orientation. You will then work in either the hospital or polyclinic alongside a local team, providing support and expertise and treating patients in line with your training level. Trained professionals will be expected to practice and share their experience with the local team, including the paramedics.
- For those that are ‘STOP THE BLEED‘ certified, you can help deliver workshops in the local schools and community, to teach this lifesaving skill to others.
What skills do I need to be a Healthcare Volunteer in Belize?
You will be asked to submit a full CV/Resume and to attend a Skype interview with the Kaya team to ensure that your interests and expectations can be assessed. A positive attitude and a willingness to help are essential competencies.
If you are a qualified doctor, you will be asked to provide your medical license and qualifications so that the local team can arrange your Temporary Employment Permit (for a small fee). Any qualified practitioners will be asked to register with the Belizean Medical Council, as they would with their own governing body at home, to enable you to be the most help to the local community.
Resources are limited, so if you need any special equipment, we recommend bringing it with you. Everyone is asked to bring their own scrubs and suitable shoes for working in a clinical environment.
WHY JOIN THE PROJECT
To learn from experienced healthcare professionals
Understand healthcare systems in a different setting
To develop your communication skills within an international team context
Where will I work in Belize?
Kaya’s programmes are based in San Ignacio and the surrounding communities. San Ignacio, referred to locally as Cayo, is located 2 hours from Belize City along the Western Highway. Though a tourist centre, the town and surrounding communities contain a diverse mix of Creole, Mayan and Mestizo populations. San Ignacio is also an attractive market town set among pleasant tropical hills. The friendly people of San Ignacio enable rich cultural exchanges and productive development projects.
Details & Costs
- Duration: 2+ weeks
- Cost: £1973 / $3080 for 2 weeks
See drop-down menu for additional weekly pricing
(Note that a deposit is required to secure booking. The deposit amount varies depending on the length of your placement. Please speak a Kaya advisor for further information)
- Requirements: age 17+
- Location: San Ignacio, Belize
- Project activities: dependent on level of experience; may include observation, taking vitals, hygiene training or possibly assisting with minor surgery.
- Working hours: 6-8 hours per day, Monday – Friday. Shifts may vary
- Project availability: starting on the first or third Saturday of each month
- Arrival day: Saturday
- At least 4 months advance booking required to participate in this project.
What is included
- Accommodation: shared room in volunteer accommodation
- Food: 2 meals per day; light breakfast and a cooked evening meal. Volunteers prepare something from their own country once a week
- Airport pickup and drop off at Belize City International Airport
- Training: Healthcare ethics & culture doc, pre-departure info pack, learning reflection manual, on-site orientation and project induction provided
- Support: 24 hour support
- Excursion Planning: Staff help organise weekend activities (Activity price may be extra)
What is not included
- In-country transport to placement
- Fees associated with registration with Belizean Medical and Nursing Council including license registration ($150)
- Police/Government Background Check; US and UK citizens will be processed through Kaya (admin fee applies); all other nationalities must provide local police check.
- Any costs for COVID-19 PCR tests required pre-departure and in-country
Easy 4-step application process
Apply online and pay your application fee to apply for your space on your chosen project. Our advisors will then contact you to guide you through the next steps.
Once we’ve received your application, we’ll review your details and be in touch to arrange your informal telephone interview with your Kaya Placement Advisor.
Following your interview, we will provide you a placement offer. Once you are ready to confirm your placement and dates, you can pay your confirmation fee to book and secure your space.
When you have confirmed your project dates we'll send you your Welcome Pack and lots of other helpful information to assist you with preparing for your placement.
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