Planning your elective - Honduras
Mark Wilson gives you some tips on arranging your elective in Honduras
Despite being one of the world's biggest banana exporters, Honduras, as this month's elective reports show, is poor. Honduras has been independent from Spain since 1821, but military dictatorships prevented democracy until 1984. Natural disasters--including Hurricane Mitch--have also contributed to Honduras's problems.
Honduras spans Central America and has some beautiful virtually uninhabited coasts and a mountainous interior. Knowledge of Spanish is essential, but the experience makes the effort worthwhile.
The healthcare system is by no means comprehensive: only two thirds of the population live in areas with access to hospitals and clinics. Infectious diseases are rampant. Malaria, cholera, dengue fever (which has had severe outbreaks recently), and visceral leishmaniasis are common, and everything from infective diarrhoea to Venezuelan equine encephalitis occur. There is only one doctor per 2000 people. HIV prevalance varies from area to area, but the national average is estimated to be 2%.
Polio, typhoid, tetanus, and hepatitis