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Who is Africa Health Placements?

Africa Health Placements (AHP) is a social enterprise dedicated to solving the crisis of the shortage of doctors in Africa. We work to close the gap by placing doctors for a year or more in underserved areas around the southern African region, and supporting them to be effective clinicians and change agents during their placements. We also work with health systems to create a patient-centric culture.

Where does AHP operate?

AHP currently operates in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania. Within these countries we focus on rural and underserved areas, as well as on under-resourced specialist areas, where there is a critical need for doctors.

What education and experience do I need?

AHP places doctors with a medical degree (or board certification) plus at least two years of post-academic work experience.

What kind of skills does AHP look for?

AHP places a wide variety of doctors. The facilities we work with are most in need of generalists, particularly those with an interest in A&E, HIV, TB, obstetrics and surgery. Yet there are also positions available for specialists who want to pursue their specialisation in a resource-poor environment.

What is the length of contracts?

The minimum AHP placement is one year, and from our experience the best duration for a paid role is between one and three years. This creates a “win-win” situation: doctors have time to become familiar with the local cultural and clinical landscape and stay long enough to make a sustainable impact. Simultaneously, it affords health facilities the chance to invest significant time and resources in training doctors and to experience the benefits of that investment.

What kind of work will I be doing?

Mostly you will be called upon to do generalist work, which means you will be expected to provide basic care to the emergency department, outpatient and inpatient clinics, as well as visiting the satellite clinics. Surgical procedures will depend on your experience and skills, but you can learn a lot if you want to expand your skill set and cover a broader spectrum. Common surgical procedures in rural hospitals include caesarian sections, spinal anaesthetics, chest drains, removal of lumps and wound debridement. There is a premium on obstetric skills and you may learn some tropical disease treatments. You will certainly gain experience in the treatment of HIV/AIDS and TB.

What kind of supervision will I have?

Senior clinical staff is available to provide support for work that is outside of your previous experience. You will also often have a multidisciplinary team of colleagues – including doctors and experienced nurses – that will support you. Due to personnel limitations, you may at times be required to work unsupervised and take charge of departments, but hospitals have systems to phone for support and nurses are often very experienced. Furthermore, AHP will provide access to support networks of other AHP placements that you will be able to tap into.

What type of remuneration can I expect?

The salary depends on your experience and your location. Salaries range widely from $6 000 – $54 800 / £4 600 – £37 600 per annum.

Can I bring my family? What possibilities are there for my partner/spouse and children?

You are welcome to bring your family. Many opportunities exist for volunteer work, but paid work will be dependent on your partner’s skills and the particular needs in a local area. Private schooling in South Africa is of a good standard and schools are often near facilities. In other countries one can also find good private schooling options in major centres.

How long does it take to go through the process?

The process can take between nine and 12 months. We advise that you apply early. The sooner we can get the administrative ball rolling, the sooner we will see progress.

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