Hands-On Medical Volunteer Experience In Guatemala
Are you a medical student, doctor, nurse, or other medical type of medical professional? Are you looking for opportunities to gain hands on medical experience in the healthcare field? Or are you interested in sharing your medical experience with those from impoverished communities in Guatemala? Then our Guatemala medical camp is a perfect opportunity for you!
- Gain hands on medical experience working in a stand alone medical camp in Guatemala
- Share your medical expertize and make a difference
- A life changing medical volunteer abroad experience starts at $525
- A highly rated program that has been trusted by thousands of volunteers since 2003
Guatemala is a colorful country with a mix of indigenous culture sprinkled with Spanish influence on a background of Mayan ruins, colonial cities, mountain regions, and active volcanoes. It’s a genuinely inviting country.
However, about 50% of the population of Guatemala lives in rural areas where poverty is deeply rooted. About 70% of those who live in the countryside live below the poverty line. Poverty affects everyone in these areas; indigenous communities, families, and young people.
In the rural villages of Guatemala, thousands of people are suffering from malnutrition and subsequent diseases. They are so poor that they cannot afford nutritious and healthy food or treatment for their aliments. In these poor villages, unreasonable death is constant because the government does not have enough healthcare aid programs to assist them. It is urgent and important that programs are put into place to help these impoverished communities.
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About the Medical Camp in Guatemala
RCDP Volunteer’s medical camp in Guatemala aims to offer basic medical and health care services to these poor villagers. Our medical camp will be based in the rural villages near the city of Antigua or Xela. It will move around the surrounding rural villages and stay in each community for one or two weeks, depending on the needs of individual communities. This stand-alone mobile medical camp provides primary health care services to the poorest and neediest of Guatemalans.
Our medical health camp in Guatemala is run with the help and support of local doctors and medical volunteers like you,. As a medical volunteer, your work will have a direct and lasting impact on the lives of those who come to the camp for care.
While working on the medical project, you will look after the most vulnerable members of the community: the elderly, the orphans, the women, and the disabled who lack primary medical care and basic health care education.
You will diagnose and treat various illnesses and conditions. You will also give them basic health information on many health related issues such as how to stay healthy or how to purify water to prevent cholera outbursts, diarrhea, stomach upsets and other water and fecal-borne diseases. You will have ample hands on medical volunteer experiences as you will be directly involve in the treatment of the local people.
Every Guatemala medical volunteering program and its camp is run and supervised by one or more local doctors. The local doctor will be your team leader and will assist you along the way, provide you with information regarding local health issues, delegate tasks, match the patients with the specialties of each volunteer, give advice, and deal with possible communication issues that may arise.
Please note that there may be occasions where mobile medical camps cannot be offered to remote villiages and communities. In these situations, volunteers seeking hands-on medical experiences will be placed in the hospital to work in collaboration with physicians.
Skills and Qualifications
The medical volunteer abroad program in Guatemala is open to all medical volunteers, despite age, educational, or professional backgrounds, including medical students. Physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, midwives, gynecologists, dentists, paramedics, EMTs, physical therapists, nutritionists, and other healthcare workers not listed are welcome to join this project.
Your local team leader will be a local doctor.
A local doctor will run the Guatemala health camp and will act as your team leader during your stay. The local doctor will coordinate the tasks in the camp, provide you with information regarding the local health issues and deficiencies, supervise and guide you throughout this experience.
The local doctor will be your professional point of call and go-to person who will help you during your volunteer program. Your team leader will be a qualified, experienced and very knowledgeable local doctor. Local interpreters and translators might join the team depending on the volunteers and their needs.
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A Sample Itinerary (one week)
The daily itinerary for the Guatemala health camp varies depending upon the specific goals of each camp, specific needs of the various communities, interest of the group, local situation, and other factors. Here is the basic outline our medical camp in Guatemala:
Day 1: Orientation and Q&A session about the medical camp
Your Guatemala medical volunteer experience starts with an orientation about the country and the program. On your first day of the program, you will participate in an orientation session at the RCDP Volunteer’s office. The local team leader will explain in detail what will happen during the program, starting with an introduction to the culture, history, geography, politics, and contemporary issues of Guatemala.
After, your team leader will give you information about the medical volunteer work in Guatemala, the camp objectives, location, daily tasks and expectations, and common illnesses. You will also learn about your responsibilities as a volunteer, safety issues, your accommodations, meals, daily transportation, and dos and do nots.
You will have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have, clarify any doubts, and review the daily itinerary. This orientation will provide you with everything you need to know in order to be able to care for your patients and make the most of your medical volunteering abroad experience in Guatemala.
If there is enough time, you and or your team will visit the medical camp for the first time and meet the leaders and locals behind the scenes. In some situations, your medical volunteer activities will start from day one.
Day 2-5: Beginning of your experience as a medical volunteer in the medical camp
After breakfast, at 7 am, you will head to the medical camp.
8 – 9 am: Set up camp
Once you arrive at camp, you will start getting things ready and setting up to make sure everything is ready to run the camp efficiently before the patients start arriving. The tasks will vary.
9 – 1 pm: Patient check-ups
At 9am, your real medical volunteer abroad experience starts. Local people will arrive at the camp to be cared for. You will be very busy for three to four hours as you are involved in all different treatments and important tasks to keep the health camp running. Putting to good use the medical skills you have acquired and offering them to the local elderly, the women and the children who need it is the most fantastic and rewarding opportunity.
The goal of the medical camp is to provide basic treatment and general advice regarding general and public health to those who seek it. The various diseases the patients suffer from, from eye, ear to skin conditions and injuries are a great opportunity for you to use your expertise, to challenge yourself, and to help those who are suffering get better.
11 am – 11:30 am: 30 minutes break to rest and to refresh.
1 pm: Closing of the medical camp
The medical camp will close around 1 pm. After that, you will go back to the guesthouse where you will have a well deserved meal and rest. In your free time, you can ask for more information about the following day, or you can simply relax and explore the colorful streets of Antigua or Xela. Feel free to contact our local team, if you need any help.
Day 6– 7: Off days
Usually, the medical camp runs only during the week. During the weekend you will have time to explore. You can visit other cities, shop in local markets, meet local people, and see the major tourist attractions of the area. For the last 10 years, we have helped thousands of volunteers to have exciting adventures abroad, in many different ways. We can give you information to assist your independent travels or help you by organizing a short day trip. Let us know what you want to do and we will help you to further enjoy your weekend.
This medical volunteering program in Guatemala starts again on the following next week, if you have signed up for a two-week program or want to extend you stay.
Important Notice: The sample itinerary above is just a general outline to give you a general idea of how we run the medical camp. Prior to your departure to Guatemala, we will send you a final customized itinerary of your Guatemala medical volunteer trip abroad.
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Dates And Prices
RCDP Volunteer's medical camp starts on the first and third Monday of each month. However, if you have a small group of more than three volunteers who want to join the program, we can create a customized program to allow your group to start at any date that is more convenient for your group.
Important notice: You can join RCDP Volunteer's International medical camp individually or in a group. We need a minimum of 3 volunteers to run the camp. Therefore, we request that you invite others to make a small group. Or, if this is not possible, please apply at least 2 or 3 months in advance so we can inform you - at least a month in advance - in case we have to cancel the camp setup due to failing to meet the minimum number of volunteers required.
RCDP Volunteer offers one of the most affordable medical volunteer abroad programs. Our cost is extremely affordable.
RCDP Volunteer’s international medical camp offers a hands-on medical volunteer experience to volunteers while running the stand alone camp and covering most of the expenses related to the medical camp such as local doctors, nurses, medicine, water, etc.
The RCDP Volunteer's registration fee is $299.
One Week - $525
Two weeks - $830
What Does The Fee Cover?
- Airport pick up and drop off
- Comprehensive travel insurance
- Food (3 local meals a day)
- Support & supervision from local doctors and team
What's Not Included?
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- Daily transportation
- Personal expenses
- $100 donation to buy and distribute free medicines to local people - you can pay it locally.
Housing, Food, and Supervision
During your Guatemala medical volunteering program, you will stay in a guesthouse or with a host family. Usually, volunteers share a bedroom with one same gender volunteer. The house will be spacious and fully equipped with communal areas and a television. It’s a perfect place to relax or to spend time meeting other volunteers after a day’s work.
Within the communal areas, you will find a kitchen and a shared bathroom with running water and "modern” toilets. The house will be located in a safe and clean neighborhood with Internet cafes, grocery stores, restaurants and access to local transportation.
You will be served Guatemalan food three times per day. The Guatemalan typical food and diet consists of corn, beans, rice, pork, beef, chicken, cheese, and tortillas, delightful meat stews (caldos), and tasty soups (sopas).
During your stay, our local country coordinator and team will provide you with all the support you need to make sure you have a rewarding and safe medical volunteer abroad opportunity in Guatemala. The local team will pick you up and drop you off at the airport, provide transports to and from the medical camp every day, and help you with other logistical support.
Travel and Extending Your Stay
After your one or two-week medical volunteering program in Guatemala, you can decide to stay longer in the country if you want. There are many options available for you. You can either explore independently, participate in organized tours, or join another one of RCDP Volunteer’s volunteer abroad program such as teaching English or working in an orphanage. We will be happy to help you if you need any assistance.
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Where is the medical camp located?
This medical volunteering program in Guatemala, will move around Antigua or Xela and surrounding villages in different schools, orphanages, clubs, and health centers in the poorest areas. Antigua is a very safe and popular tourist destination in the south of Guatemala located at an altitude of 1470 meters and shaded by the Pacaya Volcano. It’s a colorful 500 years old city, with streets paved in stone, sided by houses with colonial facades. Xela is a beautiful city four hours away from Antiqua.
Who will benefit from the camp?
The health camp will benefits the poor local people of Guatemala. The work done through this Guatemala medical volunteering program will assist those in need of essential medical services, but do not have access to or can’t afford it.
Do you charge any fees to local people?
The services and treatments given to those in need are absolutely free. On top of it, we also distribute medicine and food to the impoverished local communities. We ask volunteers to help too, by bringing medicines and supplies to increase the reach of our distribution.
How long will my medical volunteering experience last?
You can join the Guatemala medical volunteer abroad experience for one or two weeks, depending on your time, goals and availability.
What kind of tasks will I perform in the medical camp?
Depending upon your education, experience, and expertise, you will perform a variety of tasks.
- Provide basic health care
- Provide first aid
- Administer medication
- Check patients and prescribe medication when needed
- Use your expertise and qualifications when situations arise
- Stitch and dress wounds
- Help patients with physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Record patient details and vital signs including height, weight, blood pressure, body temperature, etc
- Give immunizations
- Promote health education
- Help with personal hygiene
- Due to liability issues, to the limitations of the medical camp and to our inability to follow up, please avoid getting involved in any surgical operations and related procedures.
I am a specialized medical doctor or professional, how can I use my expertise?
The medical camp aims to offer basic health care services. However, many different people head to the camp to seek advice and treatment for various reasons. In some situations you may use your expertise. It all depends on the need of local people and communities. Due to liability issues, to the limitations of the medical camp, and to our inability to follow up, please avoid getting involved in any surgical operations and related procedures.
Do I need to take equipment and supplies to Guatemala?
Due to the shortage of supplies, we encourage all volunteers, to bring medical supplies whenever possible. It really helps.
If you can bring medicines or supplies, we will be happy to provide a list of what is urgently needed in the community.
What type of supplies can I bring?
We ask all volunteers to bring medicals and medical supplies that can be provided to the patients. We also buy medicine locally to distribute free of charge to those in need. Your contribution will help us better help those who seek out our medical camp services.
- Basic medicine for fever, cold and cough
- Latex gloves
- Insect repellent
- Items for basic personal hygiene