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Medical Mission Trips to Zambia

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

Formerly a part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Zambia is now a democratic republic located in the heart of Arica. While the tourism economy in Zambia is thriving, the quality of living for the country’s native ethnic groups is suffering. Life expectancy at birth is <50 years and 1.2 million children are orphans, primarily due to parental death from AIDS. Zambia has the nineteenth highest death rate in the world, due as much to dismal sanitation as infectious disease and autoimmune disorders. In the rural areas, less than 50% of the population has access to safe drinking water, and only 3.2% of rural families have electricity. Children average seven years of school, much of it missed due to diarrhea and other common illnesses.

In our experience, clinic in Zambia is one of the busiest trips that our volunteers work. At clinic, you will treat entire family units, elderly patients, expectant mothers, and orphans. Because Zambia has the nineteenth highest death rate in the world, you can expect to care for many ailing patients. Common diseases that you will treat include conditions related to AIDS, infectious diseases, autoimmune disorders, and diarrhea. 

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 because all community members are encouraged to attend, the demand for dental care will be high. We will have many local dental students and a professor at the dental school available to help translate and provide oral care.

Our Work

International Medical Relief began sending medical mission trips to Zambia in 2016. Since then, IMR has served approximately 6,000 patients through nearly 200 staff and volunteers. IMR plans to continue to provide community health training, medical treatments, medical supplies and equipment, and clinic operations in order to provide sustainable health care to Zambia. 

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 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. 

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.

The Mission

Zambia is the only country in the world to have entered the Olympic Games as one country and left as another, after declaring independence from the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland on the last day of the Summer Olympics in 1964. Formerly Northern Rhodesia until its declaration of independence, Zambia is now a democratic republic, an English-speaking country in the heart of Africa, with more than seventy diverse tribes. Its culture manages to blend many disparate values and spiritual beliefs into a single country.

Poverty, however, is rampant in Zambia, healthcare almost non-existent, and education ends at the primary level for almost 75% of children in the country. Zambia is unlike any of the African countries you may have visited. With a strong Asian influence and a diverse population of young people, Zambia is one of the most vibrant cultures on the continent. People are amicable, warm, and present themselves as you see them. This simplicity of life is unforgettable.

Two IMR volunteers traveling to clinic on a bus in Zambia | Short-term medical mission missions for undergraduate students from IMR offer the opportunity to participate in patient care in a clinic setting

Lodging & Transportation

You will stay in a modern, comfortable hotel in Lusaka for the entire trip.  In the evenings you and the team will be able to explore the city and take part in many cultural events. All transportation to and from clinic sites will be included and provided by safe, trustworthy drivers. Travel times to clinics are very reasonable and you will see much of how the people of Zambia live in the rural areas during your drives.

Being able to be fully immersed in a foreign culture is so rewarding. I love eating the food, learning the customs, seeing how people who seemingly have nothing are happy and grateful for everything. I think that gets me the most after these trips. I feel so bad for the patients I see, and I wish so badly I could do more for them, but even if I just give them Tylenol they are so incredibly grateful it is unreal. This trip was incredible! I love Zambia, the people, the culture, the food. Everyone was so nice and helpful. I would recommend it to anyone.

Heather, PA, Team Zambia
IMR Team Zambia team photo

Trip Highlights

In one word, the highlight of this trip is “sustainability.” Training local health educators, health center nurses, and young dental students – and seeing the immediate results of your efforts – is a true and meaningful joy. Working with people left out of the health care system in some of the most impoverished places on earth and making a huge impact on the lives of many will sustain you as much as it does them. You will have the chance to care for the most under-served of all populations; this day may well be one of the most thought-provoking days of your life, challenging your assumptions and your skills while meaning more to your patients than you will ever be able to imagine.

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!

Join IMR on an exclusive extension to Chobe National Park and have the opportunity to spend additional time “where the smoke thunders” – Victoria Falls! Stand in awe of your surroundings while you experience the wonderland sculpted by Earth’s natural elements. Victoria Falls is classified as the largest sheet of falling water in the world and is roughly twice the height and width of Niagara Falls.

Livingstone also cites the older name of Seongo, which translates to “the place of the rainbow” as a result of the immense and constant spray. If you’re lucky you may spot one of the many hippopotamus or crocodile that call the river home.

Since you’re already halfway around the world it would be a shame to miss on neighboring Botswana’s first and most biologically diverse national park. Chobe National Park has one the the greatest concentrations of game in all of Africa. Keep your eyes peeled on your private safari in search for the park’s noted population of lions and African elephants!

For more information on extending your trip, please contact our preferred travel agency, Worldwide Navigators. Their team of experienced agents and travelers is available via email at travel@worldwidenavigators.com.

Itinerary

Itinerary is subject to change without notice.

Full Mission (8-9 Days)

Arrivals

You and the team will fly into the Lusaka, Zambia international airport.  The required arrival to your hotel is 5:00pm. If you are flying on an IMR group flight your airport transportation will be provided for you. If you are flying independently and want to be included on the scheduled airport transfer, please contact us at travel@worldwidenavigators.com.  Upon arrival, you will meet with your team and team leader for dinner and some team time.

Day 2

Orientation & Training Day

Today is all about getting ready for our mission!  There will be a required team orientation to discuss clinic roles, review protocols and gain insight into the communities and populations you will be serving. You will also review all of the supplies, laboratory testing, community health education materials, and more.

You and your team will provide training for local healthcare providers to continue IMR’s long-term, sustainable education efforts. 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 3-6

Clinic

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel in the morning and get ready to depart for clinic!  Clinics are always filled with families, the elderly, pregnant women, dental patients, and the very sick in Zambia.  This is one of the busiest places we go! Your drive to clinics will be relatively short and you will have the opportunity to experience tribal government as you meet the Chief and members of the Council for this area.  You will also have a chance to see what the local health centers can provide to the thousands of people under their care. Your translators are dental students, personally selected for service by our host, a professor at the dental school.

Each day you spend in clinic will be extremely rewarding. Working with people left out of the health care system in some of the most impoverished places on earth and making a huge impact on the lives of many will sustain you as much as it does them.

One of the main focuses of this mission is dentistry. Because dental pain is common here and because all community members are encouraged to attend, the demand for dental care will be high. We will have many local dental students and a professor at the dental school available to help translate and provide oral care.

Your last day in clinic will be bittersweet as you look back on your busy week. You’ll likely be exhausted and energized at the same time as you remember all the patients you have met during the week.

Day 7

Safari Day!

As a reward for your dedication to humanitarian aid, your sixth day in Zambia has been reserved for a fantastic, guided safari! While on safari, keep your eyes peeled for buffalo herds, hippos, elephants, leopards, giraffes, and more! 

Day 8

Departures

You will enjoy one final meal with your volunteer team before departing home. Return flights are available throughout the day, so you will want to budget your time accordingly.

If you’re interested in extending your stay in Zambia, our partner Worldwide Navigators offers exclusive trip extensions just for IMR volunteers! See the Extensions tab on this page for details.

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.

Donations to Our Himalayan Project Count!

Although each of our teams only have the opportunity to be a part of the IMR project in the Himalayans for a short time, IMR’s work in the Himalayans is long-term and sustainable.  Your dollars are a direct investment into saving and changing lives.  Your program fee is allocated to the overall mission while 15 percent goes directly into your personal logistics.

IMR supports the villages year-round.  Our goal is to never uncover a need that we cannot take care of.  We support the communities, the health clinics, the team year-round, and the patients when in need.  IMR has provided five helicopter evacuations of patients in critical need from the circuit into Kathmandu.  Whether it’s saving the eye of a 10-year-old boy in need of a very specialized optic surgery or providing knee and leg surgery for a young lady, IMR answers the call. Read their stories on our blog.

Security - $180
$180 3%
Staff & Logistics - $240
4%
Lodging and Meals - $900
15%
Insurance and Fees - $900
$180 15%
Transportation - $1,680
28%
Medical Equipment & Supplies - $2,100
35%

Mission Cost Breakdown

How does IMR use mission fees? See the complete mission cost breakdown below

Minimum Donation

Your generous donation helps to save and change lives every day.

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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