Working abroad - developing countries

This page outlines opportunities for doctors to work in developing countries in emergency humanitarian assistance and more long-term health programme design and management. You will find out the skills and qualities you need as well links to recruiting organisations.

What opportunities are there?

Doctors are needed for:

  • emergency relief
  • developing and building medical infrastructures
  • running clinics
  • medical education programmes

Staff are often needed at short notice and to work in challenging environments. Projects can be from around six months to three years. You would normally need two to three years' postgraduate medical training and some projects may prefer higher specialty trainees.

There are various organisations that recruit doctors to work in developing countries. The support provided can include:

  • pre-departure training
  • monthly allowances
  • accommodation
  • flights
  • insurance
  • pension payments
  • membership fee payments and maintaining journal subscriptions 

Find out more by viewing our medical experience abroad pages.

    • the capacity to adapt to a different environment and culture and to work in a multi-disciplinary team (previous experience of living abroad will be helpful)
    • languages, particularly Spanish and French
    • administrative skills and teaching and leadership experience are useful in roles that often have a wider remit and more responsibilities than UK clinical roles
    • experience in obstetrics and gynaecology, A&E, public health, infectious diseases, general practice, paediatrics and surgery are particularly helpful
    • a diploma in tropical medicine and hygiene could be advantageous
    • speak to people who have experience of working in developing countries
    • aid agency websites often have useful real-life stories and tips from people who have worked abroad
    • Redr UK runs training courses
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