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Work in a Medical/Healthcare/Hospital Project in Guatemala
Project Summary
Project At A Glance
Start point:
Guatemala City
End Point:
Aurora International
Airport, Guatemala City
1-12 weeks
20-30 Hours per week
3 local food daily
Local host family
Mondays of each month
Immersing in the often outdated healthcare industry of a still-developing country can often be overwhelming, but is ALWAYS an eye-opening experience for anyone. While healthcare professionals attempt to keep pace with the advances of modern medicine, there are massive amounts of Guatemalans who do not have access to basic healthcare. IFRE's volunteer projects in Guatemala place interested medical/healthcare professionals to support the often intimidating front line.

Healthcare project volunteers in Guatemala’s can expect to supply beyond the “know-how” of their training (no matter how in-depth or basic), but can also expect to share their proactive attitude and innate abilities. The citizens of Guatemala face shortage of supplies and resources as they battle various diseases thought obsolete or remedied in western countries. There are limited flu shots and things as simple as antibiotics are in short supply. Medical/healthcare volunteers are greatly welcomed in these projects to share their time, knowledge, skills and support with the almost-crippled and ever-so-demanding healthcare industry of Guatemala.

Skills/Qualifications Needed
Volunteers/interns who are interested in joining our volunteer health program must possess healthcare certification, such as an ID as a medical student, EMT or paramedic certification or nursing or physician's credentials. We do not permit volunteers without medical credentials to work in this program due to the potential risk. The hospitals require a copy of your resume, clearly documenting credentials and education, before your arrival to the project. Projects will also require an official copy of your credentials.

Volunteer Responsibilities
Job responsibilities for medical project volunteers/interns in Guatemala vary dependent on education, skills, experience and qualifications and also on the community’s current needs. Volunteers/Interns are not permitted to perform major exams or surgeries. Most often volunteers help doctors or work as their assistants. As a medical volunteer in Guatemala, you could be placed in a large hospital or small rural health center. Most of the hospitals (regardless of size) have many departments: Emergency, Gynecology, Pediatrics, Gastroenterology, Infectious Diseases, Hematology, Endocrinology, Oncology, Internal Medicine, Clinical Pathology, etc. so a volunteer may be placed in any department, but skills/qualifications will also be considered.

Volunteers may also take patients’ vitals: blood pressure, temperature, height and weight, and carry out health center tasks. You also assist in health camps, distribute medicines, provide tips to patients on health, nutrition and sanitation or provide counseling to patients. You may provide treatment for minor injuries or wounds and document patient records. The tasks and activities vary day by day!

In Guatemala, all volunteers stay with well-screened host families. Our host families are socially respected and are well versed in the art of hosting international volunteers. Host families offer a safe home, private rooms (occasionally rooms will be shared with other same-gender volunteers) and shared bathroom facilities with running water and a “western” style toilet. Volunteers have the ability to do laundry at the house or the host family may offer to do it for you for a nominal extra fee. You receive three prepared meals per day. If you will be out of the house during lunch hour, you can request a lunch "to go" that you can take with you or eat out on your own. Host families provide typical meals that are traditional to Guatemala.

Throughout the volunteer project, our local staff stays in contact with volunteers either with face-to-face visits or via email/telephone. With longer placements, we visit our volunteers every two weeks (when possible) and volunteers are always welcome at the local office. If project placement is local, we request that volunteers stop by the office once a week to keep us posted on how they are doing with their home stay and project. If project placement is very far, then our local staff members maintain communication by either email and/or phone.