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Medical Mission Trips to Tonga

Thank you for your interest in IMR’s medical mission trips to Tonga! 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.

The Need

You will see patients of every age on this trip and diseases ranging from the commonplace to some of the neglected tropical diseases. In February 2018, Tonga was hit hard by Tropical Cyclone Gita, a category 4 storm that damaged more than 1600 homes, caused widespread flooding, contaminated water supplies, and increased the incidence of dengue fever and rotavirus.

While Tongans have access to healthcare, it is difficult to obtain and requires long waiting periods. Your IMR team will play an important role in caring for the remote island communities. Your participation and expertise will make a tremendous difference to this island nation – please join us!

Our Work

Have you ever wanted to be the first in the world to greet the new day? Then join IMR in Tonga and greet the new day as part of the most amazing group of medical and dental professionals you will ever be a part of.

The trade winds will ensure pleasant days and cool nights in “the Friendly Islands” as the Kingdom of Tonga has been known since Captain Cook first visit almost 240 years ago. Tonga is made up of some 170 plus Islands scattered across more than 700,000 square miles of the world’s bluest ocean. Our patients will be warm, gentle people who share their culture with open arms and hearts.

Tonga remains true to herself and Polynesian traditions, never having been colonized by a foreign power. After over 1000 years of rule, today’s monarchy and its structure still remain the most powerful and influential entity in Tonga. Tongatapu’s stone trillithon, gateway Ha’amoga ‘A Maui, dating back many centuries, stands as a powerful reminder of the legacy of this ancient and proud royal culture.

However, not all is perfect in Tonga.  Acute and chronic health conditions abound and on the outer islands, where our team will work, there is very little access to health care.  Islanders may only get to the main island once or twice a year – certainly not enough to address their health concerns. Togatapu, Ha’apai, and other small outer islands need our help!

Join us in Tonga for the experience of a lifetime – you won’t want to leave so stay a few extra days!

Lodging & Transportation

The team will stay in modest and safe accommodations on Tonga.  The outer islands are remote and your accommodations will be the best available.   You’ll travel by boat to different islands during your stay.

The team will fly into Tonga’s international airport, Fuaʻamotu International Airport (TBU), about 20km from the capital city of Nukuʻalofa on Tongatapu. Tongatapu is the main island in the chain.

Haiti will always hold a special place in my heart, and what I learned will stay with me forever. I felt guilty coming back to my life here knowing what I was leaving behind, but I have a stronger appreciation for the little things in life. (Like not having to brush my teeth with bottled water anymore.) Thank you to everyone who supported me along this journey, and thank you to my IMR team – who knew 11 strangers could become so close in such a short amount of time?! I can't wait for my next opportunity to serve, whenever that may be.

Katie, Team Haiti

Trip Highlights

The highlight of this trip will be the beauty of the outer islands and experiencing the warmth of the Tongan people. The communities are so excited for your visit and care! There will be many cultural experiences that outsiders never see. Between the Ministry of Health, the local community, our wonderful hosts, and the small villages where you will work, you will have the opportunity to get to know the Tongan people.  Are you daring? Perhaps a Kava ceremony will be happening. If you are a food lover, you will love the Tongan delicacies including Lu Pulu, their corned beef which is cooked with Taro leaves and coconut cream. And if you are a sweets lover, you will be in heaven!

When you see the medical and dental needs of our patients, you will also find that the care you is what you will talk about when you get home.  This is a trip where you will make a difference.

And of course, there are the WHALES, too. That’s a whole other kind of cultural experience so hopefully we will see more than a few.  This is whale-watching season in Tonga!

Food & Water

 If you are a food lover, you will love the Tongan delicacies including Lu Pulu, their corned beef which is cooked with Taro leaves and coconut cream. And if you are a sweets lover, you will be in heaven! 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!

You’re venturing around the globe, have you considered extending your stay a few additional days to visit some of Tonga’s top spots? Join IMR on an exclusive three-day extension! Explore pristine beaches, blowholes and caves. Swim with ocean giants and indulge in local customs and traditions. Many uninhabited islands are lined with white beaches, protected by vibrant coral reefs and covered with tropical forests.
Take a look at the trip itinerary here: https://worldwidenavigators.com/trips/eco-tour-of-tonga/

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

Itinerary

Itinerary is subject to change without notice.

Full Mission (9-10 Days)

Days 1-2

Days one and two will be spent traveling to Tonga. Plan to arrive by 5:00pm at Tongatapu International Airport (TBU). We will celebrate our team with a welcome dinner, followed by a good night’s sleep.

Day 3

Orientation and Exploration! Today we will transfer to the outer islands! We will also have our team orientation meeting, learn about Tongan culture, and eat some Tongan delicacies. The Tongans are the most giving people you will ever meet, so don’t be surprised if something is homemade for our much-anticipated arrival.

Day 4

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.

Day 5

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.

Days 6-7

We will hold clinics in different sites on the small outer islands that have been identified as the most in need by the Ministry of Health. Health concerns are the #1 concern of the Tongan people so expect a crowd!In addition to medical and dental care, we’ll do lots of health education here as well – sustainability is important and many of the most prevalent health issues (obesity, hypertension, diabetes) are helped with education in addition to screenings and medication.

Days 8-9

Depending on your departure time, you may be able to explore Tongatapu today or sleep in and rest up for the flight home. While it took three days to get to Tonga, you will be home the same day if you leave earlier in the day. The choice is yours!

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.

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. All team members will receive a detailed briefing packet about the country you are serving. In addition to receiving background information about the country and the public health issues affecting local communities, you will also receive detailed information on fundraising, community health education topics, clinic protocols, and a comprehensive departure packet. All of these materials are critical to the preparation for your trip. Finally, a guide to the infectious diseases of the country is distributed to medical providers prior to departure.

Minimum Donation

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

Payment Deadlines

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 travel@worldwidenavigators.com.

Benefits of Flying Independently

Featured Enhancements

**To purchase any of the above Featured Enhancements for your mission please contact our office at office@imrus.org or call at (970) 635-0110.

Fundraising

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!

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