Table 4

Recommendations to improve international medical volunteering placements with VSO

SubthemeQIllustrative quotes
Increased feedback and communication36“I think through that feedback collectively… we give them [VSO] the feedback, that would help them work better.” (P7, GRRH)
37“strengthening our communication channels… misunderstandings arise by gaps in communication and poor communication… not assuming that people will know. Attending those meetings together, having a shared vision by having that same sheet from which you are working.” (P16, VSO Kampala)
Key stakeholder engagement38“in reality maternity people who are really working on the ground with the VSOs [VSO volunteers] should be contacted… VSO should involve the rightful people like in performance review that’s when we can know out gaps and then we try act to bridge or find a solution for working we do that.” (P4, GRRH)
39“I think how we [VSO] can expand it is working with other organisations that are strong in the delivery of health project delivery. Working in a consortium together with them, but standalone it may be difficult.” (P15, VSO Kampala)
Improving the volunteer–partner relationship40“consulting will improve and also cooperating working as a team will also improve because they will know what is not done here, they will know it to differentiate…. it will not be so good because it is not done here.” (P4, GRRH)
41“it is just helping them [volunteers and in-country partners] to strengthen that relationship, continuously interacting with them. And we also encourage them to share their feedback with the supervisors and then they see.” (P12, VSO Gulu)
Increasing volunteer presence42“I think they [the volunteers] had better increase on the time they stay with us, from six months to one year.” (P14, PM, GRRH)
43“I would wish that they [the volunteers] could continue working with us, giving us their knowledge, sharing us, and if there is any support that the organisation can give to the facility would be of benefit.” (P2, RHC)
44“I wish every quarter there could be someone coming in, a team goes, and another one team comes in like that, a continuous flow of volunteers.” (P5, GRRH)
Scaling up the programmes45“I think the positive impact is scaling, we [VSO] need to scale up…. and support other areas as well.” (P12, VSO Gulu)
Sponsorship46“if they can help, for me, I want to be a neonatal nurse they can help and sponsor.“ (P8, GRRH)
Improvements for preparations to volunteers prior to departure47“communicate early about what is on the ground, giving the picture about what we [VSO] have and what we don’t have on the ground… Not having that very high expectation, communication about what is expected.” (P12, VSO Gulu)
48“update the information the other side regularly… if the guys [VSO UK team] who are doing the orientation the other side, often times would interface with the realities down here either by coming or whatever it is. I know it is an expensive venture, but I think it is important… so that you don’t want to get early returns.” (P17, VSO Kampala)
  • GRRH, Gulu Regional Referral Hospital; PM, programme manager; RHC, regional health centre; VSO, Voluntary Service Overseas.