UNBC Medical Student Heading to Zimbabwe
Prince George, B.C. – Prince George resident Bobbi Batchelor will depart Saturday on a trip of a lifetime.
The fourth year UNBC medical student will join a group of 29 people (including doctors, students, teachers, nurses and administrative staff) travelling to Zimbabwe to learn about tropical medicine and infectious diseases.
She admits it’s a surprise considering her goal one day is to pursue a career in obstetrics and gynecology.
“It was actually Dr. Abu Hamour, he’s an infectious disease specialist here in Prince George. He’s a wonderful person. I chose to do an infectious disease elective and he asked me to join the group leaving to Zimbabwe.”
Batchelor expects to learn a lot during the one month practicum.
“It’ll be great to have hands on experience with diseases we don’t necessarily see here in Canada. And also see how another health care system works with infectious disease in their country.”
She expects to spend some time working in an HIV clinic, “and (learn) how it may differ or how we can learn from the ways they’re approaching HIV. And also look at how that compares with it here in northern B.C.”
Francis Garwe, an organizational development advisor with Northern Health who’s originally from Zimbabwe, came up with the idea for the trip with Valemount Dr. Ray Markham last year.
“This whole idea was born from an idea of wanting to save (lives) and give back to southern Africa which is where we grew up.”
He says the biggest healthcare need there currently centers around maternal and child health.
“That’s the big one. It’s even a priority for their government. We are trying to find out best how to work in alignment with what they’re doing.”
Garwe says this won’t be a one-off adventure.
“This is going to be one of many trips. It’s one of the first ones. The hope is there will be another trip coming soon but we have to debrief with the team to find out once they get back about the challenges they faced.”