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Harpur Memorial Hospital, Menouf, Egypt, 2004 - Rachel King

I worked at Harpur Memorial Hospital for 7 weeks and stayed on site in a very nice flat. Mostly I was in clinic. Clincis were busy. There were 3000 patients a week. I also went on the wards. Hands on medical experience was brilliant. I heard more murmurs and felt more livers and spleens than I could count. I also saw tropical diseases such as leprosy and schistosomiasis. I learned a lot about hepatitis C. I got to interact with patients a bit as I did an Arabic course before I went. However there was always soemone to help as all the doctors know English. I also helped, via a translator, in morning worship and even shared a message once. I went into the community and visited people in their homes. I did an elective project based on general surgery and even won the med schools prize for surgery for it. Staff were helpful in getting me the files for this research.

It was for me an opportunity to spend time in the middle east and to relate to patients from there. I had a really good time. I went because I was considering long term overseas work. Clinically it was awesome and probably helped make finals much easier. Also Egypt is a wonderful place to visit, packed with history and culture. While I was there I visited Alexandria (the library and city), Cairo (museum, bazaars, mosques, pyramids and more), Upper Egypt (Aswan, Luxor, Valley of the Kings and so much more) plus the Nile. What is not to love?! Also Egyptian street food is delicious, although not very healthy. I attended a wedding as well. The only negative was it was sometimes hard to find something to do.

This elective would be suitable for anyone. My elective was organised through Middle East Christian Outreach (MECO). I felt well prepared and had a good time. I dressed very conservatively and travelled light.

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