Global health challenges require global medical students



(IFMSA, 2017)

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Apeksha Kakkar. The writer is a 5th year student of Medicine at Grant Gov’t Medical College (GGMC) & Sir J.J Group of Hospitals, India. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA).

The word Global conveys a significance quite contrary to its length. Random words like Humanity Healthcare, Culture, Experience, Economy get exemplified when I use the adjective Global. Yes, that’s the power of a word that is simply defined by the Oxford dictionary as “relating to the whole world”.

As a Medical Student in a developing country, I understand there are turmoils faced by every country in their Healthcare sector. The developed nations, while equipped with good resources and spearheading the Research fields, are gripped with health issues like lifestyle diseases & mental disorders. The developing nations on the other hand, have poor investment of their GDPs into Healthcare and thus, are struggling with Infectious diseases as well as the emergence of the Lifestyle diseases. To cite an example, India is now the capitol of Coronary Artery Disease in the world (not a title to be proud of), combating several cases of Malaria and Dengue daily, and rampant prevalence of Tuberculosis (TB) in the society (especially cases of HIV associated Multi & Extreme Drug Resistant TB). Meanwhile, war stricken areas find themselves embroiled in health issues swarming the refugee camps.

And not to forget, the common enemy of the entire world, the terrifying verdict of Cancer. Although rapid advancement in technology and research has enabled early diagnosis and management of several cancers, it is still one of the most ambiguous territories in the medicine world.

I believe that one cannot say one disease is more important than the other, because what is of utmost priority, is the human being in pain. That is the service to humanity that every doctor swears allegiance to. We are united not against an etiopathogenesis but against the loss of human life and a substandard quality of life.

Recently, I had the opportunity of attending the Clinical Congress, 2016 in Washington, DC, organized by the American College of Surgeons. A talk on “Global Surgery Rotations: Getting to Win-Win” by Dr John Tarpley, a famous surgeon breaking boundaries to utilise his surgical

skills in 3rd world countries, shed light on what should students who sign up for rotations in this arena, as well as wishing to pursue global surgery in the future, should expect. Being well prepared to face the challenges that global rotations bring forth, have a significant impact on the exchange experience.

Moreover, to facilitate the understanding and skill acquirement, and to deal with the global health issues, exchanges are vital for the curricula of medical students. They not only satiate the curiosity and knowledge of the medical mind, but also enhance the cultural experience of the students. Every country, has their own culture, traditions and bustling tourism to boast of. Adapting to the society of another country and learning in a new environment, although not easy, gives an opportunity to discover our strengths and inhibitions, thereby adding a few grey hairs of wisdom.

About the author

An aspiring Surgeon, in the 5th year of the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery [M.B.B.S] program, from one of the oldest and top ranking Medical Schools in India, Grant Gov’t Medical College (GGMC) & Sir J.J Group of Hospitals, Mumbai 08. 

Team player & proficient in Oral and Written Communication Skills, with a nag for Networking and Managerial Skills. Adept at MS Office Suite such as Word, Power point, Excel. 

When not immersed in Medical textbooks – Writer and Blogger:, avid Reader, influenced by Philosophical & spiritual ideologies, committed to community service. 

Propagandist of her Medical School moto “Mens sana in corpore sano” (A sound mind in a sound body). 




















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