Panama - Medical Relief

Panama

July 29, 2017 - August 6, 2017

Minimum Donation: 2,750

  • After May 1st, 2017, Minimum Donation increases to 2,950
  • Including International Airfare: 3,050.  See Trip Info below for full details and additional options for travel.

About The Mission Trip

trip_InfoAboutInternational Medical Relief is committed to helping the people of Panama. IMR has sent 7 teams in the last three years to Panama, working with indigenous people and small villages throughout the country. On this trip, you will be part of a continuing effort to help some of Panama’s poorest groups of indigenous people. The team will travel by various modes of transportation into the Panamanian jungle. This jungle adventure will allow you and your team to camp but you won't be roughing it. Gourmet food and great friends will make the conditions something you never want to leave! The Republic of Panama is located in Central America. Panama is bordered by the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica, and Columbia. The striking landscape of Panama varies from mountains to long stretches of pristine beaches. Rich in natural resources and minerals, the landscape is scattered with waterfalls. Panama is known for the Panama Canal and this must see engineering wonder is on our list of things to do.

About Clinic

trip_InfoClinicThese indigenous people have greatly limited chances of survival if their illnesses are not diagnosed and treated. According to the World Health Organization, diarrheal diseases, cholera, and pneumonia are among those diseases devastating the people of Panama. Communicable diseases are not the threats, however. Alcoholism, poverty, and a lack of potable drinking water all contribute to the public health issues of these communities. Indigenous people comprise 8% of Panama's population but 19% of the poor and 35% of the extreme poor. Hypertension and diabetes are on the rise, as they are everywhere. The IMR team will help ensure that these tribes survive and have the health care that they need – we combat these acute illnesses through a strong focus on preventative education and acute medical and dental care. You can expect to see and treat many skin infections including tinea, impetigo, cutaneous leishmaniasis, and staph infections. Scabies and lice are also prevalent. You'll see ear infections, upper and lower respiratory tract infections, and many different vaginal infections. Leptospirosis and giardia are also common conditions. From an education perspective, your team will focus on clean drinking water, water storage, and sanitation. Please join us as we return to Panama to care for people with very limited access to care. To help you give the best care possible, your translators will speak excellent English and Spanish. We will add additional local translators as needed for the indigenous languages. We need your help! Please join this amazing team!

Lodging

This trip will be a mix of camping (or sleeping inside a building) and hotels. It will have the best of all worlds--time in the jungle, time in the city, plus wonderful food! You will experience life in the small villages and may have the opportunity for some amazing birdwatching . The harpy eagle is Panama's national bird, but the bird to watch for is the famous emerald-green quetzal!

Trip Highlights

trip_InfoHighlightsA one-day tour of the Panama Canal and the Miraflores Lock Visitors Center is included with this trip. We hope to see one of the massive cruise or container ships slip through the Miraflores lock during our visit. It is remarkable to see how the ships are guided through the locks as they silently rise and fall. Your team will also have the rare opportunity to visit some of the famous pristine landscape of Panama while experience one of the most famous engineering wonders of the world. You will also be able to take in some of the lush landscape famous for Panama and view some of the numerous waterfalls cascading down throughout the countryside during your well-deserved rest day. Panama is famous for handicrafts and you will certainly have some time to shop during this medical mission. You will be able to choose from molas (bright panels of cloth with intricate patterns and stitching), beautiful plaited baskets, polares (intricate and spectacularly beautiful traditional outfits), and more!

Extend Your Stay

Many of our volunteers have extended their stays at the back end of the trip to take advantage of the world-class sport fishing or kayaking in the Panama Canal. You can take a real tram tour of the rainforest or enjoy the Gatun Lake Expedition. You can see Panama's only volcano and the famous Quetzal at the Parque Nacional Volcan Baru or search for the Geoffroy's tamarin monkey - found only in Panama! Howler monkeys are an experience all to themselves. No matter your interest or desired activity level, Panama will surprise you and enchant you. The IMR office is here to help you extend your stay!

Trip Donation & Travel Options

PURCHASE YOUR
OWN FLIGHT
Payment by Jul 17th, 2017
SUBSIDIZED IMR FLIGHT
50% Payment by May 1st, 2017 to qualify
PRICE 2,950
(plus your flight costs from your home city to your international destination)
3,250
(plus your flight cost from your home city to the team’s departure point in the U.S.)
EARLY BIRD SPECIAL 2,750
SAVE $200 if your donation of 1,475 (50% Minimum Donation Amount) is received before May 1st, 2017.
3,050
SAVE $200 if your donation of 1,625 (50% Minimum Donation Amount) is received before May 1st, 2017.
DONATION DUE DATES Full Minimum Donation Amount due Jul 17th, 2017. Payment of 1,625 (50%) is required by May 1st, 2017 to be included on the IMR Subsidized Flight. Full Minimum Donation Amount due Jul 17th, 2017.
BAGGAGE Check your bags through from your home city without having to claim them along the way. All personal items will be in your carry-on and you will check two IMR team supply bags at no additional cost to you. You will be responsible for the cost of any personal checked bags.
FLIGHT SCHEDULE You are responsible for meeting the team at the airport or designated location in Panama prior to the team’s official arrival. Should you have travel delays it will be your financial responsibility to meet up with the rest of the team at our final destination in Panama. You will fly with other IMR team members to our final destination. The official ground itinerary will exactly match your flight schedule.
EXTENDED STAY Extend your stay to see some of the amazing sites that this country has to offer. Flexibility in your return date may also help you reduce your ticket cost. The team flight will match the promoted travel dates with +/- 1 day of travel on either end.

Your Donation to IMR Includes:

  • All group costs from the time you arrive at the team meeting point in country until you separate from the team, including transportation, lodging, food, tips for services provided to the IMR team, costs associated with clinic, and all logistics, including translation services and security as needed.

 

Costs that you are responsible for in addition to your donation to IMR:

  • If flying on subsidized team flight: your domestic round-trip airfare to the central point of departure and any costs associated with this portion of your travel.
  • If flying independently: your international round-trip flight to destination city and any costs associated with this portion of your travel.
  • Passport fees, visa fees, and transit fees, including baggage or overnight accommodations/meals while in transit.
  • Vaccinations and medications common for travel.
  • Spending money for souvenirs and personal purchases.
  • Trip supplies and personal equipment or small gifts for the special people you meet. 
  • Any lodging, meals, and transportation outside of the scheduled team trip, payable at the time of service to the local vendor.

Fundraising

IMR provides a fundraising packet and personal fundraising page to all registered trip applicants that is full of ideas on how you can raise support for your trip or for supplies to be utilized on this specific mission. When soliciting donations for any of our trips, success is completed through telling your personal story. Why do you want to go? Who will you help? Why their donation can help you achieve the ultimate goal. Tell your story to anyone and everyone. Refer your potential or active donors to our website or Facebook page and to your IMR personal fundraising page. You may share your IMR personal fundraising URL on Facebook and other social media sites.

Safety & Security

We take security very seriously at IMR.  It is our job to ensure that security precautions are in place, but please keep in mind that we cannot guarantee your safety on the trip.

  • We continuously review all current activities occurring on the ground, and we work with the State Department and the U.S. Embassy to know the ground situation to the best of our ability. 
  • We have a security training conference call with our volunteers where we detail our security procedures that are in place for the trip. 
  • We take many security precautions such as radios, a buddy system, and security planning. 
  • We provide you with an email address that you can give to the people you meet to protect your privacy until you determine that you want to remain in contact with team.
  • We rely on our teams to be cognizant of their own safety and to be aware of their surroundings. 
  • We have several policies in place that we require the team to adhere to for their safety and that of the team as a whole. 

Trip Preparation


A service that we are very proud of at IMR is the preparation that each team and team member receives prior to the trip. This is one of the most important reasons that you should join an IMR team.

All team members receive a detailed briefing packet outlining the important elements that make a successful trip, packing lists, and a checklist to keep you on track. You will receive detailed information on how clinic operates, the roles on an IMR team, community health education topics, fundraising, and access to a personal IMR fundraising page. Best practices for providing care in short term medical clinics, public health information specific to the country you are traveling too, and a guide to the infectious diseases of that country will be shared with the team. You will also receive a comprehensive country briefing packet that provides background information, cultural etiquette, common phrases, and links to additional information from a variety of sources. Finally, a departure packet that outlines how and where to meet your team will be sent just prior to departure.

IMR applicants and team members will also have access to a series of phone conferences where you will learn about specific aspects of IMR trips and 2 Q and A calls where you can ask questions specific to your trip. There will also be a Q and A call just prior to departure to help ensure that you have the most important information and are ready to go!

Most importantly, we are always here to answer your questions or help you complete your application. It is our goal that we exceed your expectations for preparation, patient care, and your overall trip. Let us know how we can help and how we did!

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the donation amount include?

The donation amount covers the cost of lodging, meals, and transportation while you are in the country, and clinic supplies/medications for our patients. If you are eligible for and choose the Subsidized IMR Flight, your donation amount also includes the cost of your international airfare. Costs that are not included in the donation amount are your passport, travel visas (if applicable), domestic airfare to the group departure city, vaccinations, and insurance. You also have the option of flying on your own directly from your hometown and meeting up with the team in country. IMR gives you the option of purchasing your own tickets, which decreases your minimum donation amount. It also gives you the opportunity to extend your stay to do some sightseeing after the trip, and fly directly from your home city to your final destination.

What will the team be doing on the trip?

IMR teams provide medical care and community health education to communities that lack access to care. A typical IMR team consists of doctors, nurses, EMTs, medical/nursing students, pre-med students, and non-medical volunteers. We strive to have a dental team on every trip as well. The team usually stays in a central location and travels each day to a different community to set up a mobile medical clinic. In order to promote lasting and sustainable improvements in the health of those communities, IMR conducts an extensive community health education program in each area as well. No matter what your specialty or skill level, there is a job for you on an IMR trip!

Can I fundraise for the trip?

Yes!  Many volunteers fundraise for trips.  Once your references are approved, IMR will send a fundraising packet that contains information on how the personalized fundraising page on the IMR website works.  It also contains some great ideas for fundraising events and other ways to fundraise for the trip.  IMR is a 501(c)3 charity, and all donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Are there any important dates I need to know?
      • IMR Subsidized Flight: In order to qualify for the IMR Subsidized Flight, you will need to reach 50% of theMinimum Donation Amount on or before May 1st, 2017.
      • Early Bird Special: A discount of $200 is awarded to team members who raise / pay 50% of the Minimum Donation Amount on or before May 1st, 2017.
Are there additional costs / expenses for the trip?
  • If flying on subsidized team flight: your domestic round-trip airfare to the central point of departure and any costs associated with this portion of your travel.
  • If flying independently: your international round-trip flight to destination city and any costs associated with this portion of your travel.
  • Passport fees, visa fees, and transit fees, including baggage or overnight accommodations/meals while in transit.
  • Vaccinations and medications common for travel.
  • Spending money for souvenirs and personal purchases.
  • Trip supplies and personal equipment or small gifts for the special people you meet. 
  • Any lodging, meals, and transportation outside of the scheduled team trip, payable at the time of service to the local vendor.
Can IMR assist me with travel plans and extended say options?

Yes!  We encourage our volunteers to extend their stay and explore.  And by extending your stay you also put money into the economies of these developing countries!