by Ralph Leon
Medical mission trips can be exceedingly rewarding in that they give people with specialized skills, like medical and health care providers, a chance to be of great use to underprivileged communities. Apart from gaining a hands-on experience, volunteers also get to work outside of their comfort zone and see the world in a new light.
That being said, it's important to plan and prepare well for the mission trip to be a success in terms of providing care and relief to patients. So here are three things volunteers need to do to make their medical mission trip successful!
#1 Plan in Advance
Decide what you want to do, where you want to go, and how you want to serve. There are various kinds of medical missions - long-term and short-term ones - providing basic health care, emergency relief, or specialized care as in dental or surgical brigades. Further, there are many duties to be undertaken on such trips, so select a mission based on your skills, interest, passion, and need.
Research potential opportunities- you can look online, check with government hospitals or ask personal contacts. Religious organizations are most likely to have medical mission outreach programs, so you can enquire with them for an opportunity for service.
#2 Start Preparing Early
#3 Know What to Take
Whether you go on a long-term or short-term medical mission, you'll be needing a lot of things to ensure your trip is a success. Here's a list to make it easier.
Do give a thought to healthcare uniform regulations, cultural norms, climate and weather, comfort, and access to laundry before you sort out your clothes for the medical mission. Choose lightweight, quick-drying, and durable fabrics. Remember to take your scrubs along.
Pack base, middle and top layers like insulating underwear, sweaters, jackets or coats, and weather wear consisting of waterproof jacket and pants, swimsuit, exercise clothes, and sleepwear.
Accessories and Footwear
Accessories like hats, bandannas, sunglasses, and gloves will help you brave weather extremes. Take along a pair each of comfortable, broken-in work sneakers, trekking boots, sandals or flip flops, and shower shoes or waterproof shoes.
Carry travel-size packs of face wash, soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. Don't forget sunscreen and lip balm, toothbrush and toothpaste, mosquito repellent, comb/brush, razor, tampons/pads, glasses or contacts and contact solution.
Do take ample amount of tissues or toilet paper and biodegradable laundry soap. You might not have access to water at all times, so carry sanitizer and wet wipes. A personal first-aid kit and medications for pain, allergy, diarrhea, and motion sickness are indispensable.
Since you're going on a medical mission, you might not have access to basic medicines, supplies, and facilities for the patients. So be sure to carry gloves, surgical instruments, diagnostic kits (stethoscope, BP cuff, thermometer, etc.), and any specific supplies that pertain to the mission's goals.
Note that medicines that you use or prescribe in your country might not be available in the country you'll be traveling to. According to Connecticut improper medication attorneys, administering, prescribing, or dispensing improper medication not only has dangerous consequences for patients, but also legal implications for medical care providers. So do carry medical reference books and drug guides to clear doubts and avoid mistakes.
Carry luggage that's easily portable and separate items you'll be taking into carry-on and checked luggage. Have essentials and a change of clothing in your carry-on so you can survive in case your luggage gets lost.
Take electronic devices like your cell phone, laptop, camera and memory cards, music player and headphones, batteries and charger, and electrical outlet adapter. However, determine electricity availability in the area you'll be staying in first.
Pack sleep sheets or a sleeping bag, a mosquito net, portable water purification system or tablets, non-perishable snacks, a headlamp and/or flashlight, guidebook/bilingual dictionary, and a journal and some reading material.
If you intend to go on a medical mission trip in the near future, the tips in this post are sure to help you make the most of your volunteer work. So get started on planning and preparing for the mission trip right away!