Medical and Dental Clinics

IMR clinics include three basic components: acute medical care, acute dental care, and community health education. Our teams consist of a variety of medical and non-medical volunteers, including medical providers, dentists and dental staff, PAs, NPs, nurses, EMS, non-medical personnel, and an IMR staff clinic director. The make-up of each team is unique and the services we provide to patients are, in part, specialized to meet the expertise within the team.

Medical Clinic Routine

IMR welcomes all medical and non-medical volunteers in our clinics.  Physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses of all levels of training, medical and dental assistants, emergency services personnel, and students of every kind are welcome here and collaborate closely so that we don’t just see patients, we see patients well.

Clinic hours vary depending on location. We strive to see as many patients as possible and, depending on the location, generally average 250-300 patients per day. As in any acute care setting, some patients will be well and others very sick. IMR clinics treat patients using a variety of procedures, including wound care, respiratory and nebulizer treatments, dehydration treated with oral rehydration solutions and IVs, and more.

Each of our clinics has a basic laboratory that provides a variety of testing, including UA, Hgb, malaria, pregnancy, glucose, HIV, and more. We provide education for patients living with chronic conditions and assist patients with referrals to appropriate care centers and hospitals for long-term care.

Our non-medical staff fill a variety of important roles in the medical clinic and are hands-on caring for patients every day.  These roles include: scribing and assisting our providers and nurses; teaching health education classes; taking patient’s vital signs and assisting in the triage process;  assisting in pharmacy; and helping patients move from one part of clinic to another.  Simply holding a baby for a sick mom can make all the difference to that patient.  Learning first hand about leishmaniasis will make all the difference to our non-medical volunteers.

Dental Clinic Routine

Dental clinics run simultaneously with the medical clinics, and patients frequently visit both clinics. Dental examinations, cleanings, fluoride treatments, and extractions are the primary procedures and many dentists bring supplies for restorations as well. Oral health education is provided to all patients. The dental clinic is a very busy department in our clinics and provides many opportunities for working, learning, and teaching.

We need every type of dental professional to make our clinics as effective as possible including dentists, oral surgeons, dental hygienists, dental assistants, dental office staff, and pre-dental students.

clinic-work-imr-senegal
imr-clinic-worker

Community Health Education

Community health education is a primary, sustainable piece of our trip. We strive for every patient to receive relevant health education classes in addition to a medical and/or dental examination and treatment. Our goal is to provide patients with as much understanding of disease and how to prevent it, as well as how to stay healthy, as we can.

We focus on:

  • Clean water
  • Nutrition
  • Hydration
  • Basic hygiene and sanitation
  • Mosquito illnesses and prevention
  • Cholera prevention
  • Oral health and hygiene
  • STD / HIV education
  • Family Planning
  • Choking and resuscitation
  • Basic first aid
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Female infections
  • Women’s health
  • Respiratory conditions
  • Clean water
  • Nutrition
  • Hydration
  • Basic hygiene and sanitation
  • Skin infections
  • Mosquito illnesses and prevention
  • Cholera prevention
  • Oral health and hygiene
  • STD / HIV education
  • Family planning
  • Choking and resuscitation
  • Basic first-aid
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Female infections
  • Women’s health
  • Respiratory conditions

In addition to prevention, we also provide education on how to correctly take the medications prescribed in clinic, recognizing symptoms for self-treatment, and the importance of hydration and rehydration.

Other Clinic Features

Local Provider Partnerships – We strive to partner with local medical and dental providers on every trip. This increases the continuity of care for the patients that we serve and is very important for improved community health. In addition, we look for partnerships with local medical and dental schools in order to have residency programs in our clinics. As a result, every IMR clinic has a teaching focus. Our partnership with local providers creates valuable experiences for our team members and is a unique aspect of working with International Medical Relief. We have established great working relationships with our international counterparts.

Team Education – Team education is another focus on IMR trips. We often have medical, dental, NP, PA, nursing, and EMT students on the trip, and we try to teach as much as possible during clinic hours. We also partner with local health care workers and they often work side by side with our team in clinic. This allows for educational exchanges in every facet of our trip.  When possible, we will try to have a government official, local healer, or hospital administrator share a meal with the team to provide their perspective on health care.

Clinic Debriefing – The team debriefs each evening about what was seen in clinic. This is an opportunity for everyone to voluntarily share their experiences in clinic, discuss the daily events, share suggestions and ideas, and brief about the next day. The Clinic Director also holds a morning briefing to describe the upcoming clinic, assign roles, and discuss safety procedures.

Clinic Supplies – IMR brings all basic foundation medicines, community education patient gifts, and supplies for clinic with us. Our volunteers are crucial partners with us and participate in this effort by collecting in-date medicines and supplies as they prepare for their trip.  IMR teams, as well as the patients that we see, benefit greatly from any and all equipment, medications, and supplies that we can acquire.

Translators – IMR provides translators for all of our clinics. We work very hard to have excellent translators in sufficient numbers. We partner with our translators and they work with us because they have a strong desire to help their country and provide medical care to those unable to obtain care.  When possible, we have local medical, dental, and nursing students as our translators.  Local HIV counselors, nutritionists, and public health educators also frequently join our teams as professionals and to help translate.

Statistics – We also keep health statistics on all patients, which we share with the country we are working in. This is an important part of the role we play in the larger health care picture of the country hosting our team. IMR keeps many of the same statistics as the World Health Organization. We are currently increasing our statistical efforts because we are able to provide statistics on remote populations that do not receive regular care.

Security – Many people interested in mission trips abroad have questions around security.  We take security very seriously at IMR.  As we prepare for our trips, we review all current activities occurring on the ground and we work with the State Department, our security team, and our in-country hosts to understand the ground situation to the best of our ability. We address security and volunteer safety procedures with our volunteers on conference calls and in our briefing packets, outlining the IMR security procedures that are in place for the trip. We take many security precautions such as using radios, a buddy system, and security planning.  IMR has extensive security policies and procedures in place and we require that our volunteers adhere to these policies for the safety of all of our volunteers. Our volunteers, and their parents and children, are always welcome to call or email our office to discuss our safety and security process.

clinic-work-imr-village
clinic-work-imr
13407229_1186984531333127_173273765784271431_n (1)