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Table 3 Recommendations for implementation by students undertaking medical electives

From: Healthy, safe and effective international medical student electives: a systematic review and recommendations for program coordinators

Issue Responsibility Reference
General Participate in pre-departure training and post-return debriefing programs [42, 47, 56, 59, 86]
Funding and Finances Ensure adequate funds for airfares, accommodation, comprehensive travel insurance, daily living expenses, vaccinations and medications, visas, placement fees, recreational activities. [4]
Establish the means by which HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (if required) will be prescribed and funded. [22, 23, 27]
Clinical Routine Establish contact with the designated supervisor and ascertain details of the elective program, clinical experience required and level of supervision. [59, 63, 69]
Be aware of skills gaps that may be addressed prior to departure and that should be acknowledged as such during the elective. [69, 70]
Become familiar with syndromic approaches to management of common and important conditions in host country. [65, 89]
Accommodation and Personal Safety Consider undertaking the elective with another student. [27, 39]
Confirm the availability of secure and screened accommodation; determine whether guards and/or domestic help are provided. [49]
Be streetwise when ‘out and about’; seek advice from hosts and inform supervisors of local travel plans. Undertake sufficient planning for and exercise caution when travelling by vehicle; avoid riding motorcycles. [6, 23, 28]
Uphold high standards of clinical practice; seek advice and support from colleagues when dealing with ‘difficult’ patients. [70]
Register with institutional and government travel registries prior to departure. [29, 30, 33, 34, 74]
Ethical Behaviour and Social Accountability Perceive the elective experience as that of a privileged visitor in a welcoming host community, value clinical cultures, respect social norms, work on language skills, and adapt attitudes and behaviour accordingly. [17, 18, 23, 59, 76]
Dress modestly and respectfully; observe standards of clinical attire. [23]
Undertake an institutional and/or on-line training program in global health ethics. [64]
Health and Wellbeing Ensure that adequate pre-travel health and safety advice, including necessary vaccines and medications, and appropriate preventative behaviour education (i.e. mosquito avoidance, safe sex) is obtained in a timely manner from a travel doctor. Pack a supply of non-sterile gloves, goggles and N-95 masks. Ensure that chronic medical conditions (including mental health conditions) are optimally controlled and that a management plan is in place for exacerbations. Arrange a pre-travel dental check-up. [23, 25, 78]
Be competent in the self-management of minor illnesses and injuries, as well as recognition of symptoms of potentially serious illnesses. [6]
Know how and where to access affordable local medical care, including services aimed specifically at foreigners. Keep all receipts and promptly notify travel insurance providers of all incidents and consultations. [49]
In the event of significant illness or injury, seek the support and companionship of another student; notify the program coordinator or other faculty member. [49]