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Christchurch med students support Covid-19 fight

Monday 6 April 2020 9:19pm

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Christchurch-based fourth year medical student Lachie Watson with his two charges.

Christchurch medical students are providing childcare to the families of health professionals as a way of contributing to the fight against Covid-19.

The University of Otago, Christchurch teaches medical students during their fourth to sixth years of undergraduate training. Only final year medical students are permitted to be part of medical teams in clinical placements during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Christchurch Medical Student Association (CMSA) President Dali Fan said fourth- and fifth-year students wanted to contribute to health system efforts while continuing their study.

"I wanted to do something to help the health system during the Covid-19 pandemic and this seemed like a great way."

As they were all police vetted, the CMSA asked its members if they would make themselves available to offer childcare to health professionals during the lock-down and beyond. Medical professionals requiring childcare apply via a closed Facebook page with their health board ID. Once approved, they can directly contact medical students who have offered their services.

Fourth-year medical student Lachie Watson is one the students who joined the childcare service. He is currently looking after two primary-school-aged children whose parents are both doctors.

Lachie said it was nice to be able to help the family out, and the kids were lots of fun.

“I’m in a flat and was studying at home during the lockdown. It’s been nice to join the family’s bubble and provide some help during the work day,’’ he said.

“I wanted to do something to help the health system during the Covid-19 pandemic and this seemed like a great way. The family had childcare arranged however it fell through. I was happy to help and ensure they can continue to work.”

About two dozen Christchurch-based medical students have registered as volunteers so far. It is not known how many families have made use of the service because they contact students independently and privately once they are approved by the Facebook administrator.