We were very pleased to welcome Alina, from Latvia, to the Volunteer Maldives family in the summer to take part in a medical internship program at the local government hospital - Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital on the capital island of Male.
The hospital is one of two medical facilities in the capital of the Maldives – the other is a private hospital, so the Indhira Gandhi supports the mainstream population of the country.
As a developing nation, and due to the small size of the country, and the location and geography, some medical procedures, medicines and facilities are very restrictive, and as such, many people end up traveling to the neighboring countries of Sri Lanka or India to receive specialist care.
The Obstetrics and Gynaecology department where therefore delighted to receive Alina as an observer, and an extra pair of hands!
Ready and willing, Alina quickly got stuck in and utilized her time at the hospital brilliantly to achieve lots of exposure to real life medical situations, to complement her studies as a 3rd year Medical Student.
Iwas attached to the team of doctors in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department. I was given a choice of shifts (including night shifts), however, I chose to do the morning shifts, which were 9am-3pm during Ramadan and 8am-4pm after Ramadan. A typical morning included a hand-over meeting with doctors from the night shift, a morning ward round and induction of labour for patients over 40+3 weeks or if there were any other indications. In the second half of the shift, I was following the junior doctors; I was sometimes also helping to write patient discharge summaries. Since I spent a lot of time in the labour ward, I also saw a lot of deliveries (22 altogether). An interesting thing that I noted was that episiotomies were done routinely. Almost every in operating theatre. The majority of cases were elective Caesarean sections, many of which I got to scrub in and assist as a 1stassistant. This was an amazing experience, not only because I helped delivering a baby, but I also brushed up on my anatomy skills! Apart from Caesarean sections, I also observed a couple of hysterectomies and removal of ovarian cysts. One of the cases was especially interesting for me as a medical student – a dermoid cyst containing black hair – which was removed from a 14 year old girl. It was fascinating to see this in real patient, since in the UK I had only seen it in an anatomy laboratory. During the last week of this attachment I also prepared a patient information leaflet on Caesarean section, which will get translated to Dhivehi and will be given to the obstetric patients.
Alina lived on the residential island of Hulumale, 15 minutes by ferry from the capital island of Male – and a tranquil and peaceful neighborhood compared to the nerve jangling, busy and noisy tiny city island with a huge population of 100,00 people – in a 2.5 km square city!
With lovely Marie and her family hosting Alina’s stay, she was made to feel very welcome and couldn’t have been looked after better! Living within a homestay in the Maldives gives volunteers and interns such as Alina a very authentic experience of normal working life in the Maldives, and exposure to a very unique country and its culture.
And once again, thanks so much for always going an extra mile for me and making my time in Maldives an invaluable and amazing experience! Alina