In November 2019, Robyn, Caroline and Sam embarked upon 3-6 month volunteering posts in Yangon. Now back in the UK they have been reflecting on their experiences. Time spent in Yangon has been transformational not only for partners, but also for themselves.
“Working as an LTV (long term volunteer) as part of CGHP, in Myanmar for 3 months has been the most incredible experience. I have grown as a person and a professional hugely from taking part in this line of work.”Sam Coleman
Cambridge Global Health Partnerships (CGHP) places great emphasis on reverse innovation and mutual benefit afforded through global health engagement. The ‘three wins’ exemplifies this perfectly; a win for the partner organisation, UK health service provider, and finally for the UK healthcare professional, as reflected in the graphic below. Such experiences aren’t without their challenges. However, such challenges often form bedrock for the development of skills, competencies and offer abundant opportunities for partnership growth.
“I found it particularly challenging to influence change in a system that I not only had little experience in dealing with but also one that is embedded in a culture that is known for its traditional ways and means. Despite this, over the three months we were successful in changing the structure of how physiotherapy on ICU at YGH (Yangon General Hospital) is conducted. This meant transitioning from one junior rotational member of staff to two permanent members in addition to the usual rotational member. This has now opened up many doors for opportunities into mentorship, competency development and respiratory teaching. Should this model be something that works and is well received by the department at YGH it is something that could potentially be translated to other areas across the hospital as they move towards a more ‘specialist’ service.”Sam
“I will be eternally grateful for my Myanmar experience. Words really cannot describe how working within a global health partnership actually is. I faced many challenges – both personal and professional – and all the while had a great time doing it. The physios of Myanmar fully embraced us and our ideas for change and will forever hold a special place in my heart.”Caroline Kelly
Over the years, CGHP has charted development in both personal and professional skills, including and not confined to improved resource management, resilience, confident communication, problem solving and cultural competencies.
“The projects and the trip, came with a rollercoaster of emotions ranging from heart-warming positivity to infuriating frustration which emphasised the need for flexibility, adaptability and resourcefulness. These are key skills that will help facilitate my work as a physiotherapist in the UK going forward.”Sam
I have returned to the UK a more resilient individual, with a refreshed passion and drive for the work that I do in the UK. ”Caroline
CGHP believes that the new skills and competencies acquired by Caroline, Sam and Robyn during their time in Yangon, will better prepare them in tackling this emerging pandemic. We hope that all three individuals will continue to play a substantive role in the ongoing implementation of this health partnership, continuing their global health journey.
Image credit: Sam, Caroline, Robyn.