UNSW medical students have donated up to $200,000 worth of equipment to hospitals in developing countries, where even the most basic tests are sometimes unavailable.
The 36 UNSW medical students volunteered during their holidays as part of a not-for-profit student organisation.
The students, who are part of the Medical Students' Aid Project (MSAP), worked in India, Africa, Central and South America, South East Asia and the Pacific.
Now in their final year of medicine, the students took the equiment and their skills to 20 hospitals. This was a significant increase in the value of equipment taken in the previous year.
Victor Burke, 24, who is the Chair of MSAP, spent eight weeks working at a paediatric hospital in La Paz, Bolivia. The experience was counted as an elective for the undergraduate medical program.
"The hospitals there have a chronic shortage of resources. We took a whole lot of equipment which is considered very basic in Western hospitals and included a piece of equipment to measure oxygen in the blood," he said.
"It was heartbreaking at times, because while the doctors are very good at diagnosing diseases, often they can't do anything about it," he said. "Chemotherapy is so expensive that only patients who are thought likely to respond positively are given the treatment. It would be a very different story in Australian hospitals."
For more information about MSAP, go to the website