This year, we are trying new things! Our goal is to reach more hospitals in more countries to improve global health and increase the exchange of biomedical knowledge around the world. To that end, we have 47 students and young professionals on the ground right now in Guatemala, Nepal, and Cambodia. They’re all working in partner hospitals to maintain and repair medical equipment, and train local staff to continue the work after they’re gone. Meanwhile, students are immersed in local culture as they live with homestay families and practice the local language.
Sixteen students – 4 from George Mason University in Virginia and 12 from Rochester Institute of Technology in New York – are spending 3 weeks in Guatemala during their winter break. They took a training course during their fall semester to prepare for this January Institute. After just four days of intense language training and cultural orientation, this group got to work in small teams in 3 hospitals to repair medical equipment. Student Programs manager Ben Fleishman is there as the On-the-Ground Coordinator. This is EWH's second year in Guatemala, and it's going even better than the first year!
Our first program in Nepal has 14 Summer Institute Alumni working with SI Tanzania 2014 Alum & 2015 On-the-Ground Coordinator David Kovacs. David has worked in Nepal before with the Nepali-Danish non-profit Access Healthcare Nepal. The three-week January Institute in Nepal gives SI Alums the opportunity to continue using their engineering skills to improve healthcare in a low-resource setting. Groups of 2 or 3 are working in 7 different hospitals to assist and train local hospital staff in repairing medical equipment.
EWH will be returning to Nepal for six weeks starting in June. In partnership with the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Summer Institute Nepal will host SI Alums and new students from the Nordic 5 universiteis in Scandinavia.
Laura Alderfer, who participated in SI Rwanda 2014 and January Institute Guatemala in 2015, shares her new experiences in Nepal: https://aglobalglimpse.wordpress.com/
Group outside our educational partner, the University of Puthisastra
The University of New South Wales in Australia is partnering with EWH on an 8 week program in Cambodia. Seventeen UNSW students took a training course at home before heading to Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Pehn. They are working alongside EWH-trained BMETs in the country’s public hospitals. Additionally, students are working on their Khmer, which Summer Institute Coordinator Inka Johnston says is a challenge: “We had our first Khmer (pronounced Ka-mai) lesson last week. We already learned a lot of vocab! Pronunciations are difficult for a lot of the group (including myself), but we will make progress."
During orientation, UNSW students had a chance to join the EWH BMET students in a soccer match: “Had an amazing time playing football with the students and staff of University of Puthisastra! ⚽ Cambodia vs Australia turned out to be quite a close affair with the teams drawing 2-2 in the end!”
You can follow the students in Cambodia on Instagram @unswewh