Planning your elective: Johannesburg
Mark Wilson gives essential hints for coping in a country that is not easy for travellers
As this month's elective report explains, Johannesburg is a dangerous place. This fact should not be dismissed willy nilly. I have seen people being shot at on a street corner there and seen many victims as patients in the Bara. Everyone knows somebody who has got caught up in the violence. Having said that, if trauma is your specialty, there is probably no better place to go.
The other issue with going to anywhere in Africa is HIV. Think seriously about the risk of needlestick injuries. Don't think that you won't do any exposure prone procedures. Being taken on as an elective student usually means they'll want you to work. You may have little choice. Remember the basic, obvious, universal precautions for everyone (double gloves, aprons, goggles). Also, talk to your occupational health department about postexposure prophylaxis before you go.
If you haven't been put off, South Africa is a