Calendar of Medical Service Trips
Updated 13 Oct 2020

General Notes

Space Availability

Participating in an expedition to serve the medical needs of remote communities can be a rewarding and career-building experience. Professionals and students in all health fields are welcome to apply. We also accept limited numbers of non-medical volunteers on a space-available basis.

 

Contact us well in advance of desired dates as coordination with Peruvian health authorities and considerable logistic arrangements are required. Some trips also fill early.

Medical Service Trips are scheduled many months in advance to try and ensure that we have sufficient participants to cover the costs of boat operation, crew, and medications for the trip. Since a majority of our participants are senior medical students from the US and UK, many trips are scheduled based on the academic calendars of medical schools. We do add other dates as well from time to time. 

If it looks like a given trip won't have enough participants, we make every effort to notify interested parties 4 months in advance (i.e., prior to purchasing flight tickets or booking additional travel before or after the service trip). 

Activities of Medical, Dental and other Volunteers

On medical service trips, volunteers assist with collecting patient histories and data, collecting community-level health information, photographic documentation, dispensing of prescribed medicines, and instructing patients on the proper use of medicines and preventative health care. Qualified volunteers also directly attend or assist with attending patients when a licensed Peruvian physician or dentist is present. Volunteers interested in dental, pediatric, internal and general medicine will have ample opportunities to interact with patients and medical personnel in those fields. Opportunities for more specialized fields (surgery, neurobiology, etc.) are restricted to the largest hospitals in Iquitos. In rural communities, clinics and health posts, the full range of patients and medical conditions are seen, but some patients will be sent to larger centers (i.e. Iquitos) for diagnosis or treatment due to the local lack of specialized equipment and lab facilities. Most rural clinics have power only a few hours daily (if at all), and facilities and equipment are very limited. Such clinics are the only medical facilities available for the populations of most riverine communities.

There is a high demand for dental attention in all riverine communities, and dental caries/cavities and poor dental care are chronic issues. In most cases, dental attention means extraction of teeth. Except in Iquitos and a few other larger centers (and at our Orosa Clinic) there is no capacity for restorative work and during expeditions it is often impossible to attend to all of those who request extractions. A critical role for dental and other volunteers is education on oral hygiene in the communities visited.

 

 

Internships

A limited number of short-term internships are available for medical and undergraduate students interested in reducing the costs of participating on boat-based medical expeditions. There is a limit of one internship per student on a first come, first served basis.  Duties can generally be completed within the time frame of the expedition, or in some cases within one day after the end of an expedition.

Patient Data Compilation (2 internships available) (internship cost reduction of $200 for 5-7 day expedition; $300 for 8-11 day expedition; $400 for 12-15 day expedition)

  • Language: Spanish skills very helpful for reading patient data sheets, but not essential.

  • Duties: At the end of each community clinic, the intern(s) collects and organizes all patient data forms. The intern(s) enters patient data in an Excel spreadsheet (laptop and software provided), familiarity with Microsoft Office software and laptop operation is essential.
    While a diligent intern can enter a considerable amount of data on the medical trip itself, it is generally necessary to spend 1 or 2 days (for longer expeditions) in Iquitos at the end of the expedition to complete data entry.

  • Additional Benefits: Project Amazonas will provide additional housing for 1-2 nights at the end of trip in addition to the reduction in trip participation costs.

Pharmacy and Supplies organization and inventory (1 internship) (internship cost reduction of $150 for 5-7 day expedition; $250 for 8-11 day expedition; $350 for 12-15 day expedition)

  • Language: No Spanish skills needed.

  • Duties: During the expedition, the intern keeps medications organized and restocked. Intern is expected to review the medications list prior to the expedition and be familiar with the general categories of medications. At the end of the expedition, the intern completes a detailed inventory of remaining medications and supplies, repacks medications and supplies, and submits the completed inventory. This generally will take 4-6 hours of work at the end of each expedition and can usually be done on the return trip.

  • Additional Benefits: Project Amazonas will provide housing for 1 additional night at the end of the trip if needed in addition to the reduction in trip participation costs.

Community Information Collection (1 internship) (internship cost reduction of $150 for 5-7 day expedition; $250 for 8-11 day expedition; $350 for 12-15 day expedition)

  • Language: Intermediate to advanced Spanish essential.

  • Duties: The intern collects community information from each location served, including demographic and environmental details, GPS coordinates, and community leadership data. The intern enters the collected data on a computer form and produces a basic map of each community. Knowledge of Microsoft Office software and ability to use a GPS unit are necessary, as is a willingness to walk around communities and interview community leaders and residents.

Translation Assistant (1 or 2 internships available depending on number of expedition participants) (internship cost reduction of $200 for 5-7 day expedition; $300 for 8-11 day expedition; $400 for 12-15 day expedition)

  • Language: Fluency or an advanced level in Spanish is essential.

  • Duties: The intern commits to assisting with Spanish-English translation as needed during the course of the expedition. The intern demonstrates flexibility, patience and perseverance in facilitating effective communication between the medical team and patients and community members in the Amazon.

UK students! Pay Attention & Save Money!!

 

The NHS will reimburse accommodations at a rate of up to £55/night for commercial accommodations, and up to £25/night for non-commercial accommodations. You may be able to be reimbursed for other expenses as well. Details can be found at (check for most current info):

 

https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/sites/default/files/2018-10/Completing%20the%20PPE%20claim%20form%20%28V6.4%29%2009.2018.pdf

The Fine Print

Boat-based service expeditions are anchored by Peruvian medical personnel but include the participation of national and international medical professionals, students, and other volunteers. These trips have translation capabilities (for non-Spanish speakers) and include 1-night hotel accommodations in Iquitos the night before departure, breakfast the AM of departure, and on-board accommodation and all meals on-board once the boat departs from Iquitos. Other hotel accommodations and meals in Iquitos before or after the trip are not included. Some boat-based trips may be anchored by a national or international medical school in which case open spaces may be limited. Costs vary with destination (remoteness and fuel needs) and duration of each trip.

Non-Peruvian medical professionals will need additional documentation (link to be added soon) that must be submitted for approval in Peru at least 30 days in advance of their arrival. This is a requirement by the Peruvian College of Medical Professionals. We suggest starting this process at least 60 days prior to anticipated arrival.

Participant costs may be subject to change due to changing fuel prices, exchange rates, and other considerations. Upon request, Project Amazonas will provide a receipt that can be used for tax purposes for US tax-payers. We cannot provide similar tax receipts for non-US tax payers.

How are payments used?

Project Amazonas is a not-for-profit organization, and with all of our officers and directors serving on a volunteer basis (we have zero salaried staff in the USA) we work to keep costs as low as possible.  Participant contributions are used for the purchase of trip supplies (medicines, fuels, food), boat maintenance and crew staffing, and for the provision of medical services to patients identified during the expedition (bringing patients to Iquitos for surgery, sending medical supplies back to specific patients, etc.).

Unless specified otherwise, participant contributions toward a trip do not include:

  • Flights to/from Iquitos (airport code: IQT), Peru.

  • Lodging in Iquitos after the completion of a trip with the exception of student interns on a case by case basis.

  • Food and miscellaneous expenses in Iquitos (exceptions noted below).

  • Any recommended vaccinations or malaria prophylaxis.

  • Personal items.

Participant contributions do include:

  • Iquitos airport reception and drop-off upon arrival and departure. Participants should plan on arriving in Iquitos by mid-afternoon the day before trip departure if at all possible.

  • Hotel accommodations (double rooms) in Iquitos the night before departure on the river.

  • Welcome dinner and orientation the evening before departure.

  • Transport from hotel to port facilities for departure of the medical service boat.

  • All meals, treated water, toiletries and linens (sheets, towels, mosquito nets) aboard the medical boat. Our cooks are experienced at catering to specific dietary needs (vegetarian, pescatarian, halal, etc.) and food allergies (gluten, peanut, etc.). We do not serve any shellfish or seafood.

  • Crew and guide services aboard the boat, recreational opportunities during the expedition (forest hikes, kayaking, fishing, village cultural activities, night excursions by skiff, etc.)

  • Crew and guide tips.

  • Provision of rubber boots (frequently very useful, but not always necessary)

Participant Numbers and Expedition Cancellation

Normally there are 12 available spaces on an expedition for participants. We do require a minimum of 6 participants for a trip to move forward. In the event that the minimum number of participants is not reached by 90 days prior to scheduled departure, we will make a final recruitment effort to boost numbers. We will notify all those who have sent in trip deposits at least 75 days prior to departure whether the trip is a “go” or has to be cancelled. In the event of trip cancellation, deposits or other trip contributions will be returned.

In general, there are 12 spaces available for medical and other volunteers; available spaces remaining are in red (but check the date on which this file was updated). (#d/#n) = number of days/number of nights. Costs are given in US dollars but may be subject to change due to fluctuations in fuel, other costs, and exchange rates. See the fine print for what is included on trips. 

2020

All previously scheduled trips through the end of 2020 have been cancelled due to travel restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. We can't wait to see the end of this horrible, very bad, and terribly awful no-good year. 

2021

  • 6-17 Feb 2021: Apayacu & Orosa Rivers (13d/13n). COVID CANCEL. Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator, University Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi, USA. (00) Cost: $1665.

 

  • 21-30 Mar 2021: Itaya (or other) River (10d/10n). COVID CANCEL. Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator. (00) Cost: $1595. All internships open

 

  • 21 Apr-1 May 2021: Ampiyacu River (11d/11n). It is doubtful that this trip will be a go, but we’ll keep it on the schedule for now. Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator. (12) Cost: $1865. All internships open. This is one of the most remote rivers that we visit with communities of Yagua, Huitoto, Ocaina and Bora indigenous groups.

 

  • 30 May-5 Jun 2021: Mazan River (7d/7n). Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator. (12) Cost: $1285. All internships open. Boat pre-placed in Mazan, travel from Iquitos to Mazan by speedboat.

 

  • 6-11 Jun 2021: Orosa Clinic-Rio Orosa (6d/6n). Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator. (06) Cost: $875. No internships. Clinic and community-based health education work (mornings), afternoons free for hiking, kayaking, swimming, etc. Travel by speedboat to the Orosa River.

 

  • 23 Jun-1 Jul 2021: Yanayacu River (9d/9n). Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator. (12) Cost: $1475. All internships open.

 

  • 2-10 Jul 2021: Orosa Clinic-Rio Orosa (9d/9n). Community Health Worker workshop and training. Core medical team: MGY organization and PA Medical Coordinator. (04) Cost: $1245. No internships.

 

  • 11-17 Jul 2021: Tahuayo River (7d/7n). Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator. (04) Cost: $1175. All internships claimed

 

  • 18-24 Jul 2021: Pintuyacu River (7d/7n). Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator. (12) Cost: $1175. All internships open

 

  • 25-31 Jul 2021: Nanay River (7d/7n). Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator. (04) Cost: $1175. All internships claimed

 

  • 29 Aug-4 Sep 2021: Lower Napo River (7d/7n). Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator. (12) Cost: $1245. All internships open

 

  • 31 Oct-6 Nov 2021: Middle Napo River (7d/7n). Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator. (12) Cost: $1245. All internships open

  • 7-13 Nov 2021: Orosa Clinic special expedition (7d/7n). Leader: Devon Graham-Project Amazonas. A work trip to the rural Rio Orosa Clinic to take care of maintenance, upgrades, etc. – some painting, light construction, organization/inventory, as well as some patient care at the clinic. Lodging nearby at the Madre Selva Biological Station. Arrive Iquitos 6  Nov, depart by speedboat to Madre Selva on 7 Nov, returning to Iquitos on 13 Nov by early afternoon. (08) Cost: $950 based on minimum of 4 participants. No internships.

2022

Dates and costs may change slightly but should not vary significantly. Additional trips may be added.

  • 5-16 Feb 2022: (exact dates may vary with UMC academic schedule): Apayacu & Orosa Rivers (12d/12n). Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator, University Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi, USA. (02) Cost: $1665. All internships open.

 

  • 20-29 Mar 2022: Itaya (or other) River (10d/10n). Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator. (12) Cost: $1595. All internships open.

 

  • 20-30 Apr 2022: Ampiyacu River (11d/11n). Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator. (12) Cost: $1865. All internships open. This is one of the most remote rivers that we visit with communities of Yagua, Huitoto, Ocaina and Bora indigenous groups.

 

  • 25-31 May 2022: Mazan River (7d/7n). Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator, YNTA nurses. (04) Cost: $1245. 3 translation internships available. Boat pre-placed in Mazan, travel from Iquitos to Mazan by speedboat.

 

  • 1-6 Jun 2022: Orosa Clinic-Rio Orosa (6d/6n). Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator. (04) Cost: $875. No internships. Clinic and community-based health education work (mornings), afternoons free for hiking, kayaking, swimming, etc. Travel by speedboat to the Orosa River.

 

  • 24 Jun-2 Jul 2022: Yanayacu River (9d/9n). Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator. (12) Cost: $1475. All internships available

 

  • 3-11 Jul 2022: Orosa Clinic-Rio Orosa (9d/9n). Community Health Worker workshop and training. Core medical team: MGY organization and PA Medical Coordinator. (04) Cost: $1245. No internships.

 

  • 10-16 Jul 2022: Tahuayo River (7d/7n). Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator. (04) Cost: $1175. All internships claimed

 

  • 17-23 Jul 2022: Pintuyacu River (7d/7n). Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator. (12) Cost: $1175. All internships open

 

  • 24-30 Jul 2022: Nanay River (7d/7n). Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator. (04) Cost: $1175. All internships claimed

 

  • 28 Aug-4 Sep 2022: Lower Napo River (8d/8n). Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator. (12) Cost: $1325. Translation, data entry and community info internships available.

 

  • 30 Oct-5 Nov 2022: Middle Napo River (7d/7n). Core medical team: PA Medical Coordinator. (12) Cost: $1245. All internships available

 

  • 6-12 Nov 2022: Orosa Clinic special expedition (7d/7n). Leader: Devon Graham-Project Amazonas. A work trip to the rural Rio Orosa Clinic to take care of maintenance, upgrades, etc. – some painting, light construction, organization/inventory, as well as some patient care at the clinic. Lodging nearby at the Madre Selva Biological Station. Arrive Iquitos 5  Nov, depart by speedboat to Madre Selva on 6 Nov, returning to Iquitos on 12 Nov by early afternoon. (08) Cost: $950 (no internships available for this trip)

 
 
 
 
 
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