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Background The high number of postgraduate global health courses, websites such as Global Health Gateway, annual conferences such as the Global Ideas Forum, and global health interest groups in all 20 Australian medical schools are indicators of increased interest among Australian doctors in working overseas.
Objectives This article provides an overview of the health situation in lowincome and middle-income countries, and summarises current approaches to improving the health of those living in countries with a developing economy. Opportunities for overseas assignments by generalist medical doctors in emergency and non-emergency settings are described, and appropriate pathways to prepare for such work are outlined.
Discussion The ideal training for overseas work is a Master or Diploma of Public Health, with a global health specialisation. These are available in 16 Australian and two New Zealand universities. Individual units can be taken as short courses, for example, in field epidemiology, maternal and child health, communicable diseases, nutrition, and health in complex emergencies.