This past April I participated in the CFHI Maternal and Child Health program in Pune, India. The experience from the day I was accepted into the program until the day I returned from India was wonderful. CFHI kept in contact with me throughout the many months before the program began. I received program information via mail and email, and felt very comfortable heading out to Pune.
I was the only person in the program during that month, but the program directors in Pune and in the States made sure that I was doing well throughout the entire trip. I felt very supported during my time over there. Each morning I met with the program director to discuss either the rotation I'd be going to that day or some interesting cultural information about India.
The rotation was set up so that each week I worked with a different obstetrician or pediatrician in both hospital and outpatient settings. Every morning I would go to the hospital or office and observe the physician during their normal day of clinic or hospital rounds. I was even able to assist in a few surgeries and deliveries.
I also was able to work in a rural clinic outside of Pune during my third week. The rural clinic was one of my favorite experiences. On the morning that we went there we picked up four residents from the local medical college and drove about 3 hours outside of the city. The mountains were beautiful and it felt wonderful to be outside of the noise and busyness of the city for a while. When we arrived at the clinic a crowd of people were already waiting there for us. I was able to work with both a pediatrician and an obstetrician during the morning. We saw over 60 patients, and by the time we were finished we all were exhausted, but satisfied that we were able to see everyone who came.
I enjoyed talking and spending time with my host family as well. They made sure that I had more than my share of the great Indian food, and was able to experience many of the wonderful places around Pune on my evenings and weekends off. I am grateful that I was able to participate in an Indian wedding, climb one of the nearby mountains, see multiple temples throughout the city, and visit the historical Buddhist caves. Coming home after my four week stay I can say that I feel more informed both about the health care system and the culture of this beautiful country. I can't wait to return.