In honor of one of the most amazing people and brilliant nurses who has just passed away I am interested in starting a medical mission trip. My hope is to plan one trip and possibly make it an annual thing if I can get it up-and-running.
I was wondering if anyone has any advice, tips, guidance, etc on how to exactly go about planning this mission. I have just started to research this, and I do not have anything set up or started as of yet.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Jul 18, '12
I commend you and your desire to honor someone in this manner. In answer to your question, I have some questions that the answers to can help you plan.
1. Where do you want to go/plan to go? If it's out of the country, what are their laws about the import of medical products? Can you purchase any medications needed in-country?
2. Do THEY want/need your help? So often, we Americans think we have the best of everything to give to everyone else. Sometimes, that is true, sometimes not. And, having support from the field is key to a successful trip. If the folks in the location you choose don't want your help, you will find resistance.
3. Who would you be working with at the location? Ground support people there are key. They need to know the area to which you are going and the medical needs there. Do they host med teams often or are you the first? Do they have national (if out of the U.S.) medical personnel who will be involved? It's often helpful to involve them. But (and I can't emphasize this enough) assume that they don't know as much as the members of your team. Utilize them as colleagues
4. Who will handle logistics? Refer to question #3. Handling the logistics is almost a full time job itself.
5. Can you provide care in a location without insisting that the U.S. form of medical care is the ONLY care you give? Or, are you willing to embrace cultural norms that are not your own in order to meet the needs of the people you encounter? I have found that when American med teams go to clinics and try to treat people as they would in America--ie---pushing high power antibiotics in a country in which most people are not resistant to penicillin---the potential to do more damage than good exists. If you treat the poor, they are less likely to be able to afford high priced meds, if available in country. Or, if you transport 3rd generation whatever meds they may not even be able to obtain them there.
Plan to be simple in what you use to treat/prescribe. Plan to have something for everyone, even if it is only multivitamins.
Just my 2 cents worth. Feel free to send me a message if you want more info/further talk. Good luck to you!
Sep 18, '13
I do this with a group of nurses I graduated with. We go through program called "ProWorld". I highly recommend them - very professional, they make all arrangements (food, lodging, license in foreign country, medical sites you work in, transportation), super affordable, you get to interact with locals (each location is run and organized by people who live there), and they even plan time off for you to site see and do fun activities! I wasn't specifically the one who coordinated the trip but I know that it was a relatively painless process. I had the most amazing time when I did it!!
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