From Elective Reviews - South Africa - Mseleni Hospital, South Africa, 2013 - Natasha Ramsden
Mseleni is a small hospital in rural South Africa. The population in the local area is quite poor and many people live in very basic conditions. The hospital has wonderful doctors and staff. This, and the interesting medicine, meant it was an amazing placement. The conditions that are seen commonly are HIV, TB, mental illnesses, diabetes, schistosomiasis and many more. It was an extremely varied experience with people often presenting late. The hours were very flexible and you could be as keen or chilled-out as you want. However, if you are keen then you will get to do things like lumbar punctures, circumcisions (!), examining and history taking, suturing and much more! You have to be keen in the hospital to get the most out of it.
Positives of the experience: Staying with one of the doctors near the hospital, making friends easily, the English-speaking church and lots of Christians around, interesting medicine, lots of opportunities to do new stuff and there was lots to do at the weekends. Unfortunately you can't go far on your own as it's not safe, but luckily my new friends always invited me along on their weekends.
This elective would suit anyone interested in an elective in rural Africa, who likes travelling and is keen on having an elective where you actually do stuff. I organised it directly with the hospital. It is also good if you are alone. Outside of the hospital environment there are opportunities to go scuba diving, go on game drives, visit beautiful beaches and cross the border to Mozambique.