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Most Zambian hospitals are government run but there are quite a number of mission hospitals in rural Zambia as well as a number of private institutions. Medical students for instance wishing to do an elective, find it easier to organise one with one of the mission hospitals but there some equally good oportunities in some of the government run hospitals.

Working in Zambia is quite an experience to say the least. Like most other third world countries, the lack of adequate resources makes work very challenging and often very frustrating. Yet on the other hand, overcoming some of these challenges on a daily basis, one patient at a time, makes the experience priceless, giving medicine its true value and making both doctor and patient alike very appreciative!

The are three settings into which one can work in Zambia

  1. Government hospital/institution
  2. Mission Hospital
  3. Private clinic/hospital

Visit the Health Professions Council of Zambia for registration details.

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Medical electives

The appeal of experiencing medicine in rural Africa is quite capivating and in this respect, Zambia has a lot offer. For both students and qualified doctors alike, local and foreign, the challenges are often great, the learning curve steep, frustations abound but most often all this outweighed by a sense of satisfaction with every little help offered and the immense appreciation in turn that the local people have for you. The local doctors/expats are often quite experienced and have a lot to offer; sometimes the kind of life saving things that no textbook will teach you! Most often, people describe their overall experience as humbling and a confidence booster. Most people would want to do it again if circumstances permitted!

The work aspect aside, the sheer beauty of Zambia makes the whole experience even more memorable (Zambian Tourism website if you want to know more)

Where you choose to do your elective depends on several factors including whether you want to see typical conditions that are only commonly seen in a big hospital or whether you want more hands on experience; the kind you really get in a rural hospital, whether you want to be in or close to a city or deep in rural Zambia, e.t.c. Suffice to say that most places need you to apply well in advance of your planned elective as some of the more popular institutions (e.g. UTH in Lusaka (Govt) and St Francis in Katete (Mission)) have long waiting lists.

You would need to apply to the institution directly. In most rural areas, accomodation will be available whilst in the cities, one often needs to arrange their own accomodation.