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A Medical Venture to South Africa

A Medical Venture to South Africa

Lo Chun Hin, Ivan's Story 
Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine


USA, Western Europe, East Asia— these are the places most HKU students choose to go for their exchange study.  Ivan Lo, once an MBBS student and now a life-saving houseman, had his eyes on South Africa.  Yes, it is an underdeveloped country with the highest number of people living with HIV.  Yes, people get robbed on the street every day in the country.  And yes, Ivan was concerned.  But no, he doesn’t regret his decision.

Photo of Ivan doing surgery

Unlike his classmates who chose to stay in Hong Kong for their medical electives, Ivan’s desire to try something exotic drove him to the other half of the world.  Thanks to the support from Chui’s Student Excellence Scheme, he was able to undertake a one-month medical elective in South Africa last year.  That’s how he set foot on his journey. 

“If it looks alright to you, just stitch the patients up.”

Due to the shortage of medical staff, Ivan was treated as a real doctor instead of a student there.  Rewinding his memory tape, he vividly recalled how he was trusted to deal with patients on his own and how his supervisor would say, “if it looks alright to you, just stitch the patients up”. Despite the language barrier between Ivan and his patients, the satisfaction he gained, and the gratitude he received was more than he could have imagined.   

Besides his study, Ivan has co-authored two journal articles and actively participated in voluntary work.  One cannot seem to wonder — where on earth does a medicine student get the time to do all these?  To answer that, he smiled and said, “it was extremely stressed, but as long as you always remind yourself why you started in the first place, it’s all worth it.”  All the best to Dr. Ivan Lo on his road to become a successful surgeon!

Written by:
Annie Cheung
Year 4, Faculty of Arts
January 2019


A Medical Venture to South Africa