Jenna's Story

In 2018, Jenna Barnett travelled to Nepal to undertake a medical elective (as part of her medical degree), in Nepal at a Pahar Trust Nepal community health post in the village of Tarkang (find out more here). The health post was located in a very rural village, that serves around 10 patients a day. Jenna saw a variety of conditions including ear infections, lots of chest infections, typhoid and some quite nasty skin abscesses. With only around 30 medications to use for treatment (including paracetamol) it was quite a culture shock!

Jenna stayed at the health post with the two health workers who work there; one trained paramedic and one nurse. They were both very friendly and welcoming. The accommodation was basic but comfortable, and most of the meals (including breakfast) were Dahl Bhat (curry and rice).

Medical assessment room at Tarkang health post

None of the patients really spoke English, apart from some of the teachers from the school. One of the nurses spoke broken English but Jenna helped her learn during her time there and, in turn, she taught Jenna some Nepalese. There was a doctor working at a nearby community hospital who spoke good English and he travelled to the health post for immunisation days.

Jenna said, “The whole village were very friendly, I felt very safe and they were all very keen to get me involved with living like a local!  If you’re looking for an authentic elective where you get to fully experience another culture then this placement would be perfect. I wouldn’t do more than 4 weeks of your elective here, I did the other 4 of mine in the UK - it is just a massive culture shock and 4 weeks is definitely enough!”

View from Tarkang