Community Service

About the Work

DSC_2786-1Q: What surgery would I get to do?

A: The basic ‘lumps and bumps’, skingrafts, amputations, circumcisions, Caesarean sections and tubal ligations. There are also occasional emergencies like appendicectomy, ectopic pregnancies and laporotomy for stabbed abdomen. There is also opportunity to learn more technical surgery from the acting medical manager, like inguinal hernia repairs, hysterectomy and total hip replacements.

Q: How often would I be on call?

A: This is dependent on the number of doctors. On call is currently 2 of every 5 weekends from Friday to Monday alternating between 1st and 2nd calls. Then also twice during the week, also either 1st or 2nd.

Q: Would I get “post-call”?

A: No, although calls are relatively quiet with on average a quiet period of about 4-6 hours when you can sleep. If you’re on second call you may only get called for about 1 hour to assist in theatre.

Q: What about senior cover?

A: This is good, with experienced senior generalists who are always willing to help with a difficult case. There are also visiting specialists from time to time.

Q: Rural allowance?

A: There is extra money for those who work in rural areas.

About living in Mseleni

Q: Would I need to take malaria prophylaxis?

A: Permanent staff don’t take chronic prophylaxis. The area is fairly low risk and the prevention of bites is all important. The incidence of malaria varies year by year, but it is rare that we see people contracting malaria who have been bitten locally, its usually from people who have travelled further north recently.

Q: What kind of accommodation is there?

A: For couples and seniors there are houses. For juniors, singles and paramedics there is a shared house, with a maximum of 4 sharing a kitchen and bathroom. Although the rooms need spicing up with personal items, the location is very pleasant overlooking the rural surroundings, and if you’re up early enough you could watch the sunrise from your bed!

Q: The ethos?

A: There is a strong Evangelical Christian emphasis. There are opportunities to join the Bible study group, lead Sunday church services and morning ward devotions. For those of different or no faiths, there is no compulsion to join any of these activities, although you are welcome to.

Q: Recreation?

A: At the hospital itself there is a floodlit tennis court, indoor squash and badminton courts and a table tennis table is also available. Nearby there is Lake Sibhaya. A walk to the lake takes about 40 minutes and is very pleasant, although swimming in the lake is not a good idea due to the crocodiles and hippos which inhabit it.

Further afield, Sodwana Bay, an internationally acclaimed scuba diving spot, is 30 minutes drive away. There are other secluded beaches, game reserves and fishing spots between 1 and 2 hours away. The road is now tarred all the way to Durban and the Mozambique border, about 4 hours and 1.5 hours away respectively.

Q: Social?

A: At the hospital itself there are permanent as well as temporary staff. There are short-termers coming and going all the time, so it’s an opportunity to make some friends from all over the world. It’s also possible to get together with folk from other hospitals most weekends.