Field Safety Protocols in Light of COVID-19
At International Medical Relief, the health and safety of our team members and the people we care for are our top priority. We monitor the health of our team members in the field using symptom screening, as well as training on handwashing and sanitizing. Our volunteers are asked to complete a 14-day self-quarantine and symptom check leading up to the trip. To ensure the safety of the people we care for and our team members, IMR has implemented a time slot protocol where patients will receive vouchers to come to the clinic to ensure crowd control and social distancing. Also, all floors, surfaces, and equipment will be cleaned daily. As the situation continues to change, we are closely monitoring the guidance provided by the CDC and health departments and will adapt our procedures accordingly to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
Safety and Security
IMR takes your safety and security as our number one priority. We have several protocols in place to assist with the team’s safety and security. The following is not meant to alarm anyone, nor is there any indication of added concern at this time. IMR staff will always monitor the situation. There are things that IMR does to keep you safe in the field and things that YOU can do to keep yourself safe and healthy in the field. Taken together, the following protocols, guidelines, and tips will help you have a safe and healthy journey.
What IMR Does to Keep You Safe and Healthy
IMR takes your safety and the security of the IMR team very seriously. However, we cannot and do not guarantee your safety; there are inherent risks to travel and participating on medical teams.
- Registers our teams with the U.S. State Department and provides a color photo roster for easy identification of our volunteers.
- Provides you with a photo credential with US Embassy contact information on the back.
- Monitors conditions on the ground and U.S. State Department travel advisories.
- Keeps your travel plans and locations PRIVATE.
- Chooses clinic locations and our working partners with your safety first. Our ground teams are experienced and professional.
- Hires private security at clinic and lodging as required for team safety.
- Provides scrubs for the team and identifiable uniforms for our ground team with names on front and back.
- Provides you with business cards that allows you to share a “safe” IMR email with the people you meet and make decisions about continued correspondence later. We ask that you don’t share your personal information with anyone.
- Has established procedural protocols for your safety, including a buddy system.
- Identifies a Chief Medical Officer (CMO) on each team to oversee your care should you become ill.
- Maintains a file of your medical history and emergency contacts in the field.
- Maintains daily communication with your team leader while in the field.
- Requires the risks of a medical clinic to be shared through malpractice and medical evacuation insurance.
- Keeps a qualified medical professional with you if you are too sick to come to clinic.
- Provides safe drinking water, food, and personal protective equipment in clinic.
- Provides gloves, masks, and safety goggles for use in clinic. We encourage you to bring extra personal protective equipment in your daypack for your personal use.
- Follows standard protocols for exposure to bodily fluids and needle sticks
What Can You Do to Increase Personal Safety?
- DO NOT discuss the specifics of your trip on any social media! This includes specific locations, airline/flight information, or personal information about your team members. THANK YOU for adhering to this policy!
- Register your trip with your home nation’s registry if you are not a U.S. citizen.
- Take personal responsibility for your health and safety during the trip.
- Obtain all required vaccinations, use anti-malaria medications and insect repellant as appropriate.
- Stay hydrated, but eat and drink only what is provided by IMR.
- Follow universal precautions; tell your team leader and CMO immediately if you are sick.
- Stay back if you are too sick to work and wear PPEs to stop others from getting sick.
- Wear appropriate clothing for the country you are visiting.
- Be aware of your surroundings and maintain a vigilant attitude.
- Follow your team leader’s instructions, maintain any set curfews, and look out for your team members.
- View our policies on safety and security, vaccinations, and clothing under your account on the International Medical Relief website.
- Participate in conference calls, read the materials provided, submit an accurate medical information form, and purchase required insurance.
- Use money belts and keep your passport on you at all times.
- Utilize your IMR business card to share personal information.