Locum Tenens

My Locum Tenens Experience: Labors of Love in Africa

olujoke_jonesFor Dr. Olujoke Jones, a hospitalist who has worked with CompHealth since 2011, locum tenens assignments make charitable work in Africa possible. A native of Nigeria, Dr. Jones dreamed for years of serving her home country.

“I have always had the desire to give back to humanity. Living in the United States for close to 20 years, I am familiar with the major obstacles we are yet to overcome in less-developed countries,” Dr. Jones says.“Doing locums exclusively gives me flexibility. I can plan for when I need to travel.”

As a result of her accommodating schedule, Dr. Jones was finally able to make a dream she hatched years ago with her late husband a reality: She recently formed Labors of Love, an organization that facilitates mission trips to underserved African nations.

Labors of Love volunteers work with medical training facilities around the world to educate the local people about basic preventive care. The organization’s mission is a result of Dr. Jones’ first mission trip with another organization in 2007.

“You’re able to help people with immediate needs like antibiotics or antiparasitic medications on a medical mission. Then you get people with long-term needs like surgery and chronic diseases. As a missionary, you can’t effectively solve those problems.” Dr. Jones says. “My goal is to form a liaison with medical schools and residency-training facilities. They see a lot of problems we don’t in the U.S., and we can help them better manage the problems we have more exposure to.”

Labors of Love just completed its first trip to Lagos, Nigeria, setting up a community clinic for the needy that offers preventive health screenings. Dr. Jones also has contacts there who will partner with residents and medical students to exchange medical information when missionaries are not available to help.

“These are the people who will go on to practice locally. When they learn from you, it creates more of a long-term impact,” Dr. Jones says.

Noting that equipment like CT scanners, for example, are a luxury in Nigeria, and Pedialyte is not available for kids with diarrhea, Dr. Jones says it’s important to find local solutions that are affordable and use what people have on hand.

“The UN taught parents to mix sugar and water in proportion to treat diarrhea. This is an effective solution that is extremely inexpensive,” she expresses. “You have to get down to the grassroots to come up with the solution.”

Though the organization is still brand-new, Dr. Jones already has a plan for Labors of Love’s future missions. “Our next trip will be to South Africa, but the plan is to go global,” she says. “We want to serve as many third-world countries as we can touch.” To learn more about Labors of Love medical mission, check out the Facebook page. Find out how locum tenens can give you the flexibility to serve medical missions! Check out our open physician jobs now.

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Lindsay Wilcox

Lindsay Wilcox is a healthcare writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional writing experience. When she's not circling typos, she's enjoying fish tacos and hanging out with her family.

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