Scholarship funds Kerry's third world medic safari

21:15, Nov 20 2012
Former Matamata College student Kerry Short will spend the next few months experiencing rural medicine in Nepal, Zambia and Tanzania.
Former Matamata College student Kerry Short will spend the next few months experiencing rural medicine in Nepal, Zambia and Tanzania.

Former Matamata College student Kerry Short will spend the next few months working alongside doctors in some of the most remote places in the world.

The fifth-year University of Otago medical student received a $5000 scholarship to help fund a work-experience trip to Nepal, Zambia and Tanzania.

Speaking to the Chronicle last week, Kerry said she was looking forward to the challenge of working in developing countries.

"I'm going into the unknown, which is quite thrilling," she said.

"I like the fact that it's very resource limited and you have to have confidence in your own knowledge without the backup of modern technology like MRI machines."

Kerry aims to work in rural medicine and spent the last year studying in Greymouth as part of the university's Rural Medical Immersion Programme.

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The Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust Travelling Scholarship will enable her to experience how rural medicine programmes are run in third world countries.

Trust chairman John Farry said the scholarship aimed to help young people spend time in "innovative and challenging" overseas situations and to later become "the new generation of idea generators" in New Zealand.

On Monday, Kerry left for Nepal, where she will spend five weeks with a travelling rural clinic-based programme called Hope and Home.

On Christmas Eve, she will arrive in Zambia, to begin a six- week placement at the St Francis Hospital, a small base hospital serving a large rural population.

"I'm hoping to get more practical skills and confidence in my own knowledge," said Kerry.

"I will be watching other professionals and how they do it.

"It's a pool of knowledge.

"The enthusiasm and passion they have got - it's a special kind of person that will go and work in those places, and to learn from them is going to be inspirational for sure."

A keen pilot, the 22-year-old has also arranged to join the Flying Medical Service in Tanzania for four days.

"We will fly into little villages that are difficult to access and give vaccinations and check on mothers and babies."

Kerry will take medical supplies such as thermometers and blood pressure machines with her from New Zealand.

Parents Patricia and Grant Short are understandably proud of their daughter.

"We are so happy that she can get out and do these things and has these types of opportunities," said Mrs Short.

When she returns, Kerry will be completing her final year of medical school in Christchurch and hopes to eventually practise somewhere like Matamata.

Matamata Chronicle