Description of Student Experience:
Working at the Centro de Salud was truly an eye-opening experience, with regards to the medical practices in place and the perspectives Peruvian physicians hold. Students are given an enormous amount of freedom to examine patients and make decisions regarding their treatment. At this clinic I had the opportunity to see walk-in patients, tend to inpatients, make house calls, and assist with deliveries. The patient demongraphic was quite varied, with a significant pediatric population. In addition to working at the Centro de Salud, I also had the opportunity to spend some time at a private clinic (Kausay Wasi) in the neighbouring town of Coya, which offers free health care to locals. The clinic receives teams of specialists every month from other parts of the world, which attracts a large variety of patients with interesting pathologies. It was also fascinating to see the stark contrast between the public system and a private clinic run by volunteers. Students are not required to do call at the Centro de Salud, so there was a significant amount of free time on evenings and weekends for travelling and local hikes (which are amazing!). Ollanta is a small town, but its strategic location between Cuzco and Machu Picchu makes it a hub for tourists, and a great base for weekend excursions. Intermediate spanish is highly recommended.