MEDICAL MISSION TRIPS: Want to go?
Everyone is looking for a purpose in life. This is what inspires and drives the actions we take. If you are reading this article, it means you did a search for medical mission trips simply because you feel the need to serve a community in a way that most people cannot or have refused to serve. Well, you have come to the right place.
Whether you are a doctor, nurse, physiotherapist, lab scientist, dentist, optician, and any other healthcare workers or a pre-med student, one with an aspiring medical professional looking to enhance your skills and meet the needs of those who do not have enough funds to visit a hospital, the need for your services as a medical volunteer cannot be overemphasized. You can choose to be a part of something as beautiful as this; bringing healthcare to those who do not have the regular opportunity or enough funds to see a doctor or other healthcare workers. This can be very rewarding for your career as a medical professional and your spiritual walk with God because it will also be a way of expressing God’s love and a means of winning souls for Christ. You will be required to use your skills to provide adequate healthcare to those who need it, anywhere around the globe. It is important to note that you do not necessarily need to have a medical degree, as this program is not limited to those with degrees. You can be a volunteer who has an interest in medical placements or a healthcare intern or premed/prehealth student [undergraduates or graduate volunteers] interested in enhancing your skills and career as a potential medical practitioner. You will have the opportunity to work under seasoned medical personnel and learn from them, while you provide administrative, logistical or whatever kind of support that is necessary.
ORGANIZATIONS TO PARTNER WITH
When choosing a program, it is very important that you consider the cost that it will implore. This cost can be made lighter if you choose to partner and work with organizations that are actively involved in assigning tasks to interested volunteer individuals. Such organizations include; e3 Partners, Partners Belize, Muso-Volunteer Positions, Equal Health Volunteer Officer and Intern Positions, Samaritan’s Purse International Relief, Volunteering solutions, Agape Volunteering, MedicalMissions.org, International Medical Relief and several others. You could also consider fundraising and request help from organizations like Volunteer Forever. For each of the organizations listed above, there is an application fee attached to their offer, the placements available which you will also have to pay for. You can choose the one most affordable to you.
The first thing to do is to look really hard at your mission. Know how long you will be spending in your choice country, the type of delicacies they have there and if it will be any danger to your health. The conditions will be very different from what you are used to and you will spend lots of hours working with limited medical supplies and equipment. Language and other cultural barriers may also make your work difficult. How will you cope with all these constraints? To begin, it is important to have a list of countries where you’d be interested in serving abroad. Do a lot of research on those countries, their culture, language, cost of living, availability of a visa, how long it is available for and why that country stands out for you. Prepare yourself for your choice country because you are going to be there for a while. Work on obtaining a passport and immunizations necessary for the country you will be going to serve in. Follow all recommendations given by your organization to prevent illness. Make a copy of your passport when you get it for safe keeping. Study and research a lot. Get to know that country, community, people, their culture and every important thing about them. Pray a lot and lean on God for the grace to serve effortlessly and efficiently.
Another important thing is to get to know your team; the people you are going to be working with very well. Try to spend some time with them before you commit to working with them. Be sure you are clear on expectations; what they expect from you and what you expect from them. Ask a lot of specific questions in relation to this trip including costs. Know what additional costs you are expected to pay when you are abroad. You should also have a list of preferences for assigned volunteer projects which include either choosing to work with a medical professional or working within your own area of specialization. You could do a survey and highlight those projects you’d want to get involved in which are closely related to what you want to get out of a volunteer program. Keep an open mind about and consider all the options because the one you may consider may end up being best for your skills.
Deciding what to take with you on this trip can be very confusing. You should have at least 2 bags with you. One should contain your personal things and the other medical supplies. Do not take any medical supply or personal item for granted. Be sure to carry it if it is important because they may not be available in the country you are going to. If they are valuable or irreplaceable, it is best to leave it at home because, despite your pure intentions for coming to that community, it still does not eliminate theft. Be sure to carry personal medications and a first-aid kit as well. Bringing your own toilet paper is also advised on this trip. Wet wipes and hand sanitizers are invaluable on this trip and should be your best friend, carry it wherever you go. Learn to educate those you’d be caring for on their symptoms and appropriate use of medicine. Bear in mind that illiteracy is very high in third world countries. You will need to monitor them yourself to ensure that they take the medications as prescribed. You could assign some educated personnel from their land or educated relative to help administer these medications appropriately.
While on your mission trip, it is important that you learn their language, no matter how little so that you can communicate with them effectively. Do well to smile a lot and interact with them a manner that depicts love and genuine care. This program may not be profitable financially but it is beneficial in every way. If you are a non-medical volunteer, you will have the privilege to work with seasoned medical experts even as you contribute in the way you can. For students, this program will give you a practical insight on what your medical profession entails and you will have the opportunity to practice firsthand under the supervision of medical experts. For the medical personnel and other health providers, you will have the opportunity to put your skill to a profitable cause and also meet the health needs of people who are not privileged enough to have regular health care. Most importantly, there is this sense of fulfillment that you will have knowing that you helped make someone better spiritually and physically. Take the gospel to them even as you take your medical supplies and skills to them. Spiritual and Physical healing is of benefit to everyone!
Jesus said to go it includes medical mission trips as well.
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15
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