Distribution of medical supplies in Peruvian Amazon - Courtesy of AidJoy.org

Medical Trips

Medical, dental, and other volunteers are welcome. Contact us well in advance of desired dates of service as coordination with Peruvian health authorities and considerable logistic arrangements are required.  Two types of medical service opportunities are available:

 1. Boat-Based Medical Service Trips: These are generally anchored by Peruvian medical personnel, but include the participation of national and international medical professionals, students, and other volunteers. Such trips have translation capabilities (for non-Spanish speakers), and include accommodations and meals once the boat departs from Iquitos, Peru. Short-term internships are available for medical and undergraduate students wishing to the reduce the costs of participation. Contact devon@projectamazonas.org for details on upcoming trips.

2. Service at Urban or Rural Public or Private Clinics and Hospitals:  Arrangements are made directly with directors/staff of such facilities for service periods ranging from two weeks (minimum) to several months.  Conversational Spanish ability is essential. Accommodations may be at the facility itself or in the surrounding community. Ask for the clinic placement document.

In general, there are 12 spaces available for medical and other volunteers on boat-based medical expeditions. Short-term internships are available for medical and undergraduate students wishing to reduce the costs of expedition participation.

Activities of Medical and Dental Volunteers

On 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 techniques. Qualified volunteers also directly attend, or assist with attending patients. 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.) will be restricted largely to the Iquitos area. In most remote 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 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, 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. 

Funding and Costs of Medical Service Trips

Expeditions are funded by private donations and by participant contributions. Teaching/service expeditions are organized by specific medical schools who send their staff and students. These trips accept volunteers on a space available basis, but volunteers need to contribute at the same rate as other participants. Volunteer contributions allow us to cover the participation of Peruvian medical personnel and students, as well as to purchase medicines for use during the clinics. Donations for support of medical service trips are tax-deductible (for US residents), and most participant contributions may also be tax-deductible.

Unless noted otherwise, participant contributions do not include:

  • Transportation to/from Iquitos, Peru (this will be by air for most volunteers)
  • Lodging in Iquitos at the end of the expedition (lodging the night before departure IS included in trip costs).
  • Food and other expenses in Iquitos (apart from the welcome/orientation dinner the night before departure).
  • Inquiries: To apply or to request further information, email devon@projectamazonas.org

 

 

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