Hospital doctors and physicians

We're looking for GMC-registered hospital doctors with at least three years' post-registration experience (ST2), and ideally an MRCPCH (short-term roles require extensive specialist experience). 

Roles are generally longer term, ranging from one to two years, but we also have occasional short-term assignments for up to six months.

Specific requirements vary according to each role, but you'll need a solid foundation in a broad range of adult medicine. Teaching, training and management are all central to your VSO roles, so experience in those fields is important. Experience of infectious diseases, tropical medicine or HIV and AIDS is often also desirable.

What you'll be doing

Preventable diseases cause high levels of mortality and morbidity in many poor countries. Remote or rural communities in particular are often left without adequate care. As a VSO doctor you could help strengthen primary care, improve referral and help widen access to treatment.

Working in a clinic, hospital or healthcare centre, you'll be improving vital care. You’ll also be teaching and training staff to help them improve and develop their services.

  • Example role

Please note this is just an example placement to illustrate the kind of roles that may come up in your skill area. To view our live roles, click ‘Get started’ below.


Zambia continues to be an island of peace and stability in a conflict-ridden region. However, the country suffers from rising poverty made worse by the impact of the HIV pandemic on income-earners and their families. The disease burden is felt hardest in rural areas, where services are weak or non-existent. St Francis’s Hospital is a referral mission hospital providing vital services in the rural east of the province, where HIV prevalence is about 17 percent, and poverty is high, with most of the population being subsistence farmers. With an antiretroviral clinic providing services to 4,000 patients, one of the largest programmes in the country, St Francis’ Hospital have requested extra support to build care provision for HIV positive patients.

What you'll be doing

  • Managing the care of patients on antiretroviral treatment on the HIV ward
  • Undertaking daily ward rounds, including teaching where students are attached to the ward
  • Treating people living with HIV referred to St Francis’ Hospital's outpatients clinic
  • Participating in clinical meetings, audit and teaching sessions
  • Conducting outreach sessions at rural clinics
  • Developing HIV prevention and health promotion services

What you'll need

You’ll be a registered doctor with at least three years’ post-registration experience, ideally with some previous experience of infectious diseases or HIV medicine. Experience of training or developing others, and helping to build their skills and capabilities is essential. A diploma in tropical medicine and hygiene may be useful but is not compulsory. St Francis’ has 330 staff and eight doctors in total. A local specialist will act as your mentor and provide supervision and advice as needed. The hospital links with the Human Institute of Virology in Maryland, USA.  You’ll need to be flexible, patient and creative to work effectively with limited resources.

And the rest...

Landlocked Zambia is located between the southern rim of the Zaire Basin and the Zambesi river. The country is home to the majestic Victoria Falls as well as excellent national parks with a huge variety of wildlife. You’ll be based in the quiet, beautiful Eastern province, near the rural town of Katete. You’ll live within the hospital compound, with running water and electricity. The Hospital compound has a market for essentials such as fruit and vegetables.

We’ll ask you to commit to 12 months to make a sustainable contribution to HIV services at St Francis’ Hospital. In return, we’ll give you comprehensive financial, personal and professional support. We'll provide you with extensive training before your placement, a living allowance, return flights, accommodation, insurance and more. When you return home, we'll help you to resettle and many of our returned volunteers stay involved with us long after their placement ends.

Next steps

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Transforming education from the top down – James Elford, Head Teacher, Ethiopia

Volunteer James Elford (Ethiopia - Education)

More than half of the world's out-of-school children live in just 15 countries, and nearly three million of them are in Ethiopia. Pupils are often passive recipients of knowledge, which can be ineffective at engaging students to think critically and creatively. Ex-head teacher James Elford is spending two years as a VSO volunteer, rolling out a programme that promotes a modern and interactive approach to primary teaching in remote parts of Western Ethiopia.



Can my family come with me?

It will depend on the placement as some locations may not be suitable for a family.