Public Health Project in Sri Lanka
- Placement locations: Colombo, and the Kalutara District
- Role: To work in a variety of healthcare areas, including community outreaches and public health campaigns
- Requirements: Volunteers must be aged 18 years or over
- Accommodation: Host families
- Price: From
- What’s included? Food, accommodation, transfers to and from our specified airport, transport to and from work where required, insurance, personal webpage, induction and orientation, 24/7 support
- What’s not included? Flights, visa costs, spending money
- Length of placement: From 2 weeks
- Start dates: Flexible
In Sri Lanka, conditions are slowly improving: the gap between income equality has shrunk in recent years and more communities have access to electricity and clean water. Unfortunately, there are still communities which remain severely disadvantaged, and one of the biggest problems they face is a lack of access to health services and basic treatment.
Several tropical diseases (such as leptospirosis) are a significant problem and there has been a rise in the number of cases of non-communicable diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and high cholesterol. This increase in non-communicable disease cases is a result of lifestyle changes. The population is
aging and more people are earning a higher income. Local healthcare services are slowly increasing their capacity to focus on the treatment and prevention of these diseases, as they now account for 85% of the total disease burden in Sri Lanka - we are assisting with this process. Volunteers will help reduce cases of non-communicable disease by raising awareness of preventative measures and running intervention programmes. These programmes address major risk factors like smoking, alcohol, obesity, an unhealthy diet, and a lack of exercise.
You will also help provide vital basic medical services in these communities while gaining valuable practical experience. This placement is suitable for everyone interested in medicine and healthcare, and is especially useful for pre-med students building a CV for medical school, healthcare graduates interested in adding to their skills, or professionals already working in the field.
Volunteering on a Public Health Project in Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka, we work alongside a government healthcare organisation that falls under the Preventive Health Sector of the Regional Director of Health Services (RDHS) in Colombo. The organisation offers maternal and child health services, including a training centre for midwives. There are 5 full time doctors and 3 nursing sisters who cover work at 17 clinics.
Your placement will involve the following activities:
- Assisting doctors and staff at the centres and helping mothers fill out their child’s health development record.
- Collecting and entering data.
- Assisting public health midwives during field and house-to-house visits.
- Assisting the public health inspector on government school visits during medical inspections.
- Participating in medical outreaches. This involves taking vital signs, checking blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and observing consultations.
- Organising and running awareness programmes in areas where we have identified a specific need (such as a specific community, a school, or a home for the elderly).
- Running intervention programmes when requested by specific communities and our project partners.
- Observing and assisting midwives and doctors at clinics. Volunteers can only assist with the permission
of local staff.
- Conducting research and writing reports on important public health and medical-related topics.
If you have a background in dentistry, you will be able to assist dentists during visits to schools and dental clinics.
During your time on the project, you will have the opportunity to attend monthly medical camps and seminars with all of the other medical volunteers in Sri Lanka. You will also visit hospitals and attend workshops, where you will learn about local healthcare systems and traditional medicine.
You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Sri Lanka Medicine & Healthcare Management Plan.