Global child health - about volunteering

RCPCH Global designs, delivers and assesses large, complex paediatric training programmes for health professionals and health system strengthening. To achieve this, we engage a wide range of skills from within the College’s membership and more broadly from a range of health and specialty areas, including nursing, midwifery and obstetrics.

Shared expertise and learning through volunteering

We recruit on a volunteer basis. As part of the College's charitable mission, the voluntary nature of our programmes ensures a net transfer of value from the UK to some of the world’s poorest countries.

We know that this is a two-way process – one in which our volunteer teams also stand to gain an enormous amount professionally and personally.

Long term volunteer programmes

At one end of the volunteer spectrum, RCPCH Global recruits and deploys volunteer clinicians who will be based and work for a sustained period (normally 6-12 months) in one of our country programmes.

These long term volunteers (sometimes referred to as Global Links volunteers) are normally seconded to one or more secondary facility, usually the equivalent of a district hospital. They provide educational support, training, clinical modelling and mentoring for doctors, nurses, midwives and others.

At the same time, our long term volunteers are able to engage with hospital management to look for system level improvements that can enhance care quality and child health outcomes.

We have placed more than 100 clinicians into our programmes across a range of low-resource settings. When our teams return to the NHS, many report improved capabilities, not just clinically but also in teaching, effective audit and management of quality improvement projects.

The placements include:

  • training and mentoring of local healthcare staff
  • transferring skills in paediatric and neonatal care
  • building the capacity of PICU, NICU, OPD and paediatric emergency services
  • conducting clinical audits and quality improvement projects.

About our Global Links programme

Short-term volunteer roles

We also engage clinicians in shorter term roles. As we develop new country or thematic programmes, for example in neonatal and perinatal care, we assemble a small advisory body of senior clinical experts who can guide and advise on the composition and content of our training programmes.

We often engage senior clinicians from this advisory body to provide periodic short course training when this is considered to be an appropriate component of wider programme delivery. We engage senior clinicians in quality assurance oversight visits to programme countries.

We also engage a wide multidisciplinary group who can help us design the right metrics by which to evaluate the impact of our work, and to advise and support on the evaluation process.