Panama - Medical Relief COMPLETE

Panama

July 13, 2019 - July 20, 2019

About The Mission Trip

trip_InfoAboutInternational Medical Relief is committed to helping the people of Panama. IMR has sent 8 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 and the indigenous community that works in the largest garbage dump in Panama City.  The team will also work in small villages where 8 different indigenous communities will come together to receive care.  The team will travel by various modes of transportation into the Panamanian jungle for this part of the trip and you will have one night of camping in the village!  All of the other nights you will be in a lovely hotel in Panama City - this trip is the perfect mix!  You will have a great adventure, seeing first hand how your patients live, in the city and in the jungle, while helping hundreds of indigenous people to be healthier!

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. Watching the big ships go through the canal and learning about this engineering wonder is quite fantastic - did you know that the original gigantic dredging machines are still in daily operation, more than 110 years after first starting their engines?!

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 with your fantastic skills by providing 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. Malaria and mosquito bite prevention will also be important! 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!

Transportation & Lodging

trip_InfoLodgingThis trip will be a mix of staying in a great hotel and camping (or sleeping inside a building) in the village where you will provide much needed care for patients in remote communities. It will have the best of all worlds--time in the jungle, time in the city, and 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!

This trip will start and end in Panama City, Panama.  We can't work to work with you!!

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.

During your time in Panama you will see a bit of the city and a bit of the jungle.  You will travel by canoe through some amazing country as you wave to the local children who will excitedly wave back with both hands!  Don't forget to look for sloths!!

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

trip_InfoExtendedStay

You're venturing around the globe, have you considered extending your stay a few additional days to visit some of Panama's top spots? Join IMR on an exclusive three-day extension!
The Panama Canal, which cuts through the country’s center, links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to create an essential shipping route. Modern skyscrapers, casinos and nightclubs in the capital, Panama City, contrast the colonial buildings in the Casco Viejo district and the rainforest of Natural Metropolitan Park.


Take a look at the trip itinerary here: https://worldwidenavigators.com/trips/a-taste-of-panama/


For more information contact Worldwide Navigators, our preferred travel agency, at travel@worldwidenavigators.com

Trip Donation & Travel Options

Pay 1,475 and complete your application to secure your place as a TEAM MEMBER!

Payments / Requirements & Earlybird Discount

How much do I need to pay?

Cost Per Volunteer: $2,950

  • * Amounts below INCLUDE a discount for the Bag Scholarship Rebate ($300)

Before Apr 16th, 2019: 2,450

  • Pay 1,475 of the total cost by the Early Bird date AND upload/complete all of your required documents and forms receive $200 off the cost of your trip.  
  • Meeting this goal ensures that your space on the team is confirmed
  • You are an EARLY BIRD!  
  • Payment in full is due by Jun 22nd, 2019

After Apr 16th, 2019: 2,650

  • To confirm your space on the team: Pay 1,475 of the total cost AND upload all of your required documents and forms!  
  • Space on our teams is on a first come/first serve basis.  Your space is not reserved until you have met these requirements.  
  • Payment in full is due by Jun 22nd, 2019
  • Unfortunately, eligibility for the $200 savings on this trip is no longer available after Apr 16th, 2019.
     

$300 Bag Scholarship

$300 Rebate To Carry IMR Supply Bags - Bag Scholarship
  • We need your help to take IMR supply bags internationally to Panama!
    • The scholarship is first come, first served.  We only have a few on every trip!
    • Priority is given to group flight ticket holders but independent fliers are also welcome to apply!
    • Apply for the scholarship on your account page.
    • You will receive the funds in the form of a rebate check after your IMR bags have been received at the IMR warehouse following your trip.
    • How It Works...
        • You will be notified via email if you been chosen to receive the IMR bag scholarship!
        • If chosen, you will receive the IMR supply bag(s) to the address provided in your application within a week of departure
        • We will email you prepaid shipping labels to return the bags to us once you're back in the US! All you have to do is drop the bag off at your nearest UPS office!
      • Note:
        • You are responsible for any checked baggage charges on your domestic and international tickets (check your baggage policy with your airline)
        • Bags may weigh up to 50 lbs and are not always on rollers
        • You will receive a rebate check for $300 approx. 4-6 weeks after returning your bag(s) following your trip (using your pre-paid UPS mailer).

Flexible Flight Options

Is group airfare available through IMR?

Before Apr 16th, 2019:  YES! IMR will arrange your international flight on a "group" ticket at your request!

  • Domestic and international airfare is NOT included in the published cost of the trip.
  • Pay 1,475 of the total cost AND upload all of your required documents and forms to be eligible to fly on the international group ticket.
  • Submit your flight choice as “economical” or “premier” in your account.
  • Approve the ticket that IMR is going to purchase on your behalf and complete the purchase with IMR's approved travel agency.
  • The cost of airport transfers are included in the cost of your ticket!

After Apr 16th, 2019: You may still be able to join the group flight on a space-available basis only

    • Pay 1,475 of the total cost AND upload all of your required documents and forms by Apr 16th, 2019
    • Contact the office to see if group tickets are still available.
    • Submit your flight choice as “economical” or “premier”, approve the ticket, and complete the purchase with IMR's approved travel agency.  
    • The cost of airport transfers are included in the cost of your ticket!
    • You will need to purchase your domestic roundtrip ticket after your international flight is ticketed and confirmed.
May I purchase my own international flights?

Yes! Purchasing your own international flights provide you with maximum travel flexibility! 

  • Some trips may require an international flight and a domestic flight in country to meet the team.
  • You are required to meet the IMR team at the designated time and location per the trip itinerary
  • Submit your flight choice as “independent”.
  • You have many options for extending your stay including extended stays available through IMR’s preferred travel agency, Worldwide Navigators
  • If you would like to request airport transfers at an additional cost, please click on the link to send an email to the IMR office.

Extended Stays - Trip of a lifetime!!

May I book an extended stay through IMR if I choose the group flight?

Yes!

Contact Worldwide Navigators to see your options

May I book an extended stay through IMR if I choose to book my own tickets?

Yes!

Sleeping the way you want to!

What are the sleeping arrangements?
  • Triple or double twin bed rooms are standard on IMR trips. This is part of our safety and security policies.
  • Each volunteer has their own bed (no shared beds outside of couples). 
  • Let  the IMR Office know if you are a family or couple.  We always try to accommodate our volunteer’s needs!  Please use the link to email our office. 
  • IMR does not discriminate in any way – please let us know your rooming needs.  
  • Please understand if we are unable to accommodate your specific needs based on availability at the hotel or lodging on your trip. 
Are single rooms available?

Yes!

  • Contact the IMR Office to find out if single rooms are available and at what cost
  • Standard IMR sleeping arrangements are double or triple rooms, twin beds

Sleeping the way you want too!!

Travel Assistance

If you would like help booking flights, hotels, extended stays, and more contact Worldwide Navigators at (970) 633-3033.

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 Apr 16th, 2019.
      • Early Bird Special: A discount of $200 is awarded to team members who raise / pay 50% of the Minimum Donation Amount on or before Apr 16th, 2019.
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!