Medical Mission Trips to Panama
Thank you for your interest in IMR’s medical mission trips to Panama! This is a very unique opportunity to work with populations that have little to no access to healthcare and make a huge impact on their lives.
Healthcare in Panama is provided through a system that includes both the government and a private sector. However, there is an unequal distribution of healthcare services and resources, especially in rural communities. The public health care system also faces a lack of funding, which creates bed and resource shortages. Also, the majority of doctors and health care providers prefer to work in Panama City due to the higher number of patient loads and more economic opportunity.
People who live in rural areas are often unable to access health facilities. As a result, many native Panamanian tribes struggle to live a high-quality and healthy life. Please join International Medical Relief on our medical mission to Panama. This year, we will return to assist the indigenous communities and people living in small villages throughout the country. By helping to implement inaugural programs and continuing to assist the indigenous people, you and the rest of your IMR team will make a lasting impact in Panama.
International Medical Relief began partnering with Panama in 2013. Since then, we have responded with nearly 350 volunteers and staff that served more than 6,500 patients. IMR plans to continue our preventative efforts by providing medical relief and to continue the efforts to provide sustainable health services to the community. IMR will continue to provide community health training, medical treatments, medical supplies and equipment, and clinic operations. IMR strives to provide life-changing medical care to people who do not have reliable access to treatment and help increase the community’s education and knowledge on their own health to improve the overall health of the most vulnerable and underserved communities in Panama.
With diligent planning and preparation, IMR is dedicated to ensuring that specific goals are met on our missions, each in correlation to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 3, 6, and 17.
IMR works to elevate vulnerable populations through shoulder-to-shoulder care with our local partners, creating workforce density, and a cadre of future healthcare and public health leaders in association to UNSDG 3: Good Health & Wellbeing.
Our medical mission teams also work toward UNSDG 6: Clean Water & Sanitation by supporting and strengthening the participation of local communities in improving their water quality, and installing water filtration systems that supply communities with clean drinking water and providing education on hydration and hygiene.
In correlation with UNSDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals, our organization works in collaboration and at the request of local hosts where we are under their direct influence and affluence. IMR never goes into a country without a formal invitation where there is a great community need for medical or dental care, and health education.
Each day of clinic will be spent in the heart of a new village, or at a local dump. Community members will be eager to welcome you and receive much-needed treatment and education. According to the World Health Organization, diarrheal diseases, cholera, and pneumonia are affecting the people of Panama, but poverty and lack of potable drinking water make day-to-day life incredibly difficult. During clinic, you can expect to assist entire families that span multiple generations. The services that you provide will range from treatment of rashes, burns, and open wounds to care for tinea, impetigo, cutaneous leishmaniasis, and staph infections.
You and the rest of the volunteer team will also educate locals on how to stay healthy and how to care for their loved ones. One of the main focuses of this mission is dentistry. Because dental pain is common here and all community members are encouraged to attend, the demand for dental care will be high. Another main focus of this mission is women’s healthcare. We will provide general women’s and infant care, as well as strengthen prenatal care knowledge.
TRIP INCLUDES ONE DAY AT BEACH AND ONE DAY IN PANAMA WITH CANAL VISIT
In the middle of this experience your team will have the rare opportunity to visit a pristine beach along the Panama coastline. Among the arduous days of work in clinic, a day at the beach will allow the team to experience the true beauty of this country. On the final day of the trip, the team will stay at a luxurious resort in Panama City and also go to see the world famous Panama Canal. Here you will have the opportunity to take advantage of several excursions which IMR can arrange for you like: Sportfishing, aerial tram tour of the rainforest, visit to Embera Indigenous Village, Gatun Lake Expedition, River Boat Tour, Night Safari with possible sightings of monkeys, caiman, capybara and two-toed sloths, kayaking on the Panama Canal or relaxing at the resort.
Lodging & Transportation
Your team will stay at various lodging in different cities and at campsites in the jungle! On this mission, you will experience life in the small villages, so come prepared to share your culture and learn about the traditions that inspire Panama’s indigenous ways of life. IMR will arrange all the transportation to and from the airport, overnight accommodations, and clinic sites.
The highlight of this mission is serving patients who, without you and your team, would not have access to healthcare and health education. Your patients will mostly be from indigenous families and working communities and will be eager to receive your treatment and kindness. Although the most rewarding and memorable aspect of this trip will be caring for the people of Panama, you will cherish the other memories that you make this week! To help thank you for your tireless dedication to humanitarian aid, IMR has arranged for your team to take a one-day tour of the Panama Canal and the Miraflores Lock Visitors Center. Your team will also have the opportunity to visit some of the most pristine landscapes in Panama, including numerous waterfalls down the countryside.
Food & Water
All food is typically provided during your stay. Please refer to your unique itinerary on our website to review which meals are provided each day. We may hire local people to cook for the team during our visit, or we may eat at restaurants or hotels. Lunch in clinic may include sandwiches made by the team or a feast prepared in your honor by community leaders. We recommend bringing snacks to eat during the day or evening or to supplement your lunch. High protein/high fat/high energy snacks are best. IMR also provides all of the drinking water for the team. Hydration and nutrition are extremely important for the health of the team. You are the best judge of your own health so please pack appropriate snacks and stay well hydrated on the trip.
Extend Your Stay!
Since you are already venturing across the globe, have you considered extending your stay by a few days to see a nearby destination? Many of our previous volunteers have chosen to extend their time in Panama in order to experience more of what this amazing country has to offer!
With time to partake in world-class fishing, kayak through the Panama Canal, take a tram tour of the rainforest or enjoy the Gatun Lake Expedition, this trip extension gives our volunteers an experience of a lifetime. Other highly recommended activities include hiking to Panama’s only volcano, viewing the famous Quetzal at the Parque Nacional Volcan Baru, and searching for the Geoffroy’s tamarin monkey.
To see what opportunities are available to you, please visit the website of our partner, Worldwide Navigators for more information.
Itinerary is subject to change without notice.
Full Mission (7-8 Days)
Get ready to see where the city meets the jungle! Please plan to arrive at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, Panama by 5:00pm. If you are on the group flight or have arranged for the IMR transportation, you will be picked up and taken to your lodging in the Cerro Patacon region of the city.
Today is your first day of clinic and there are a lot of patients waiting for you!
Education is as important as medical and dental care for our patients. Each clinic includes basic health education according to the specialties and skills of the IMR volunteers, as well as the needs of the local people. When communities become empowered to take health and wellness issues into their own hands, they become self-sufficient. IMR provides learning opportunities for the local communities through classes and hands-on learning to sustain their well-being beyond our visit.
You will be working at a site located in the heart of a community working and residing at a garbage dump – one of the largest in the Americas. The people here have little access to care and will be eager to meet you. Patients of all ages visit clinic, from newborns to the elderly and many families. Much of their hygiene revolves around bathing in the small streams, and of course, much of their drinking water comes from the same source.
Your last day in clinic will be bittersweet as you reflect upon your patients throughout the week and the impact you hope you made on their lives.
You will be transported to the Miraflores Locks this morning and will spend a half-day watching the big ships as they lumber upwards toward the Pacific Ocean more than 50 miles away. Take a tour of the museum and observe the ships making way up the canal! The afternoon will find you back in Casco Viejo with time to relax from the balconies, shop for treasures, head for the beach, or explore the area with your new friends. Dinner is on your own tonight so that you can pick and choose as you wish – Casco has everything from nouveau haute cuisine to simple fare and lots of ice cream! Your team leader will host dinner if you wish to stay close to your accommodations.
Today, you will enjoy a final breakfast with your team before setting out for your departure home and onward journey. If you are on the group flight or have arranged for IMR transportation, you will arrive at the airport with plenty of time to check-in. If you are transferring on your own, taxis and Ubers are abundant.
Enjoy a final breakfast with your fellow team members before bidding farewell to the beautiful Philippines! If you think you might want to extend your stay (especially after receiving your jungle survival training), contact Worldwide Navigators for information on extensions and flight arrangements.
Crisis Management & Emergency Response
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.
- A security training conference call is available to 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, emergency evacuation plan and security planning.
- We protect the privacy of our volunteers in the field and provide them with customized contact information for their use.
- During our mandatory briefing, team members review our safety protocols, evacuation procedures, protocols for illness, natural disaster and terrorism.
We provide training to our teams to be cognizant of their own safety and to be aware of their surroundings.
- Several policies require teams to adhere to safety issues.
Your generous donation helps to save and change lives everyday.
Your charitable investment will go toward ongoing global relief to care for the underserved and vulnerable people of this community. As a member of this medical mission team, you will elevate the long-term impact of sustainable, capacity-building efforts that improve the health, wellness, and quality of life of those most in need. A small portion of your donation includes:
- Clinic supplies and medications for patients
- Clinic participation
- Transportation, accommodations, and meals as outlined in the itinerary
To save $200, a 50% donation payment must be received 14 weeks before the mission’s scheduled start date. Full donation payments must be received 4 weeks before the mission’s scheduled start date.
Early Bird Savings Opportunity
To be eligible, upload all your required documents and forms, and make a minimum of 50% of your donation payment by 14 weeks prior to your mission’s scheduled start date.
Flexible Flight Options
Volunteer with Airfare
You may choose to book a flight with us for an additional fee. Details on the available flight routing and US departure city will be announced on the Early Bird Date. Airport transportation to and from the team’s accommodations are also included with this option. Depending on your departure city, you may still need to purchase another flight in addition to this one. After this flight has been booked, you may contact our travel agent, Worldwide Navigators, for assistance booking any necessary additional flights.
Benefits of Flying at a Subsidized Rate
Volunteer without Airfare
Many team members choose to book their flight(s) to and from the mission location independent of IMR. This is a great option if would like to extend your stay in the area to tour and explore, or if the routing from you home airport is more feasible for you. If you choose to fly independently, please note that your transportation in between the airport and the team’s accommodations will not be provided. This will need to be arranged separately. Our partner for travel, Worldwide Navigators, would be happy to assist you in coordinating flights and/or transportation. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Benefits of Flying Independently
IMR provides a fundraising packet 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 personal fundraising page. You may share your personal fundraising URL on Facebook and other social media sites.
Join Us in Making a Difference.
Bring much-needed acute medical and dental care to a beautiful, culture-rich destination. You can join an IMR medical mission team today!