The Medical Program
This essential medical program welcomes volunteers in the health care sector to Senegal where their assistance is required in clinics and hospitals. A wide spectrum of individuals can sign up to medical programs, including qualified medical personnel, medical students and pre-med students. Volunteer placements are tailored, where possible, to the level of experience and the interests of the individual, as well as to the size and type of hospital or clinic best suited to their preferences. Opportunities exist in Nursing, Midwifery, Dentistry, Traditional Medicine and Physiotherapy.
Volunteers in Senegal's hospitals get the chance both to observe and assist doctors and nurses directly, which includes accompanying them on their rounds. There will inevitably be a striking contrast between the medical service delivered in developed countries and that of developing countries. Volunteers in Senegal can encounter many medical conditions that have been left untreated over time and are in advanced stages. While this can be harrowing, it can also be instructive. Trained volunteers provide much-needed skills and knowledge to help in the severely under-resourced and under-funded medical system, providing care to people in need.
Goals of this Project:
- Improve the future prospects of the people of Senegal
- Provide quality medical care to the impoverished people of Senegal
- Provide opportunities to upskill local staff
- Create a better cultural understanding between all participants
How You Can Help
Volunteers on this program will find it to be a hugely beneficial experience in terms of medical experience and knowledge gained, and also as an extremely rewarding volunteering placement. The hospital is based in Yoff, a seaside town north of Dakar city. The hospital is large and has many departments including maternity, child welfare, laboratory, pharmacy, inpatient wards, out patients and a surgical theatre. Volunteers with medical experience are able to assist in any department depending on their skills and interests. The hospital caters to the local community and also villages that are further afield. The maternity ward is the busiest and in 2013 delivered around 6500 babies - more than any other hospital in Senegal. Although it is a large hospital, it is still rather basic and under resourced in terms of equipment. Volunteers need to be prepared to handle medical situations with the limitations that exist in African hospitals.
Volunteers contribute in a number of ways and can expect to undertake the following tasks:
- Provide day-to-day medical care, as appropriate for experience and training
- Provide healthcare and education in community programs
- Network with program staff and medical staff
This program offers an amazing opportunity for suitable applicants who are 18 years and over to work alongside qualified medical professionals and gain first-hand insight into Senegal's healthcare system. It is open to those with experience and/or education in the field of medicine, as well as med-school and pre-med students. Ideally, volunteers on this project will have at least a basic knowledge of the local language in order to communicate effectively with patients and staff, though this is not a pre-requisite. Naturally, all applicants must also have a genuine willingness to help, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive 'can-do' attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!
Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:
- Emergency contact
- Police check
Dakar is a sprawling, lively cosmopolitan city of 1.5 million. Beautiful contemporary buildings stand side by side with impressive colonial architecture. It is a vibrant city with bustling open-air markets, cafe terraces, a wide range of hotels, delicious food and an exciting night life. It’s a big African city so it’s chaotic, crowded, dusty and hustlers abound especially around the beaches and markets. Art lovers will find an abundance of studios, galleries, museums, and festivals. Senegal is a shopper’s paradise and exquisite crafts can be found in markets, on the streets, and in stores throughout in Dakar.
You can discover Dakar by taking a walk along the ocean or the busy city streets. The central Place d’Independence is a good place to orientate yourself from. If you speak French, you’ll have no problem conversing with anyone in Dakar.
Most visitors head to Senegal for its beaches, and for good reason. North and South of Dakar, wide strips of white sand invite swimming and sunbathing, both to built-up resort zones, or in one of the coast’s charming fishing villages where you can go boating in a wooden pirogue and spot flamingos and kingfishers. Dakar’s main beaches include the Plage Bel-Air and the cleaner and safer N’Gor and Yoff. Other good beaches within reach are Toubab Dialao and Yenn, which are well known for their spectacular red cliffs. For the sport enthusiast, this city by the beach offers all water sports and golf, tennis, biking, and more. What a place to volunteer!
Start Dates & Duration
This project is available year-round and programs start every SUNDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 2 weeks to 12 weeks. Longer stays can be arranged directly with the local team, but will be subject to availability and individual visa conditions.
Spaces on this project are limited and therefore subject to availability. Early booking is recommended.
For current available start dates please check the calendar on the right.
Arrival & Orientation
Upon your arrival in Dakar you will collected at the airport (Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport) by a representative of the local project team and taken to your host family accommodation. Here you will be welcomed and settled into your new surroundings.
On Monday morning, you will be collected and taken to the local team offices where will receive a full arrival orientation. A representative from the local team will fill you in on local and regional customs, traveling, rules and recommendations, and of course, what to expect from your volunteering experience. This is a great opportunity to get to know your hosts, meet your fellow volunteers, and ask any last questions you may have. You will then be taken to your projects site where you will be introduced to the onsite project team and settled into your project work. Easy!
- Project Arrival Day: SUNDAY (Between 8am and 10pm only)
- Project Departure Day: SATURDAY
- Arrival/Departure Airport: Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport, Dakar, Senegal (CODE: DKR)
Accommodation & Meals
Volunteers on this program will be accommodated with a local host family, and will gain the opportunity to become immersed in the local culture and custom, improving their knowledge of the people, culture and language. Senegalese families are renowned for their kindness and hospitality and they love to learn about different cultures. Living with a local family truly is the best way to throw oneself into the local culture and to meet people who will often become lifelong friends!
All families have been fully vetted by our local team and have extensive experience hosting international volunteers. Depending on the time of year it may be necessary to share a room with other volunteers, but private rooms are often available upon request (additional fees may apply). Volunteers will be provided access to a shared bathroom. Host families are often happy to wash clothes for volunteers for a small fee to cover the additional electricity, though mostly volunteers will use a local laundromat. In either case you can expect to pay a small amount for the service. Alternatively, you can do your own washing, but remember that washing machines are not common so you’ll likely have to use the tub or wash basin. For internet access you can purchase an internet key, the local partner can help you with this when you arrive.
Host families will provide volunteers with breakfast and dinner during the working week. Lunch is not included but can be purchased at a nearby café while at your project site – a wonderful opportunity to try the many cheap and tasty local food options!
It is important to remember that the living conditions in Senegal are different from home. Most families have running water, but hot water is still uncommon in some areas. Although the accommodation is basic, this is part of the challenge and experience of volunteering in a developing country. With a little patience, and a flexible attitude, you will quickly get used to your new surroundings.
|Program Fees (USD)||N/A||449||559||669||829||889||1029||1109||1239||1329||1459||1549|
|Weeks||Program Fees (USD)|
|plus Registration Fee||USD 299 for New LV Members||USD 149 for LV Alumni|