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Career Focus

Is it possible to get an elective placement with a nongovernmental organisation in an area of the world considered to be a conflict zone?

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 03 July 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:s2
  1. Mark Wilson, Author of The Medic's Guide to Work and Electives Around the World


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It is possible to do electives with nongovernmental organisations—for example, a number of missionary-type organisations (such as African Inland Mission) commonly take medical students. However, in a conflict zone it's going to be a bit more tricky. They would be responsible for your welfare and hence, unless you have a lot to give them, they are unlikely to think it is worth the risk.

One place that recently had a conflict and which is now taking medical students is East Timor (take a look at Another area is the border of Thailand at the Mae Sott Clinic (see

Alternatively, get in touch with all the nongovernmental organisations listed on and ask them if they would consider taking you—it'll be a lot of letter writing but you never know, something may turn up.


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