VOLUNTEER FOR A MEDICAL MISSION
COST & REQUIREMENTS
Surgery provided to those most in need is made possible by volunteers’ program fees. A portion of every volunteer’s program fee is applied towards supply costs for patient surgeries and is tax-deductible. Program fees follow a family-based structure.
- $1000 for first participant (regardless of age)
- $500 for additional family member 18 years and older
- $250 for additional family member under 18 years
Program fees include food and housing for a one week mission, ground transportation in the mission country, and emergency medical and evacuation insurance. Fees are due 4 weeks prior to the medical mission.
Volunteers are also responsible for their own flight costs. Roundtrip flights typically range $500-$1200, depending on time of year.
Since program fees help in funding patient surgeries, we are unable to waive program fees or provide program fee reductions. We encourage those for whom the cost of attending a medical mission presents a financial challenge to fundraise for program fee or flight costs. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on fundraising for the program fee or flight costs.
- Volunteers under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Children under 13 must be supervised by a nonclinical adult at all times. The recommended minimum age to attend a medical mission is 5 years old.
– U.S. passport holders: Passport must be valid for 6 months past date of entry into Honduras. A visa is not required for a stay in Honduras up to 90 days.
– Non U.S. passport holders: You are responsible for securing your own visa, if required for your country of citizenship. You are also responsible for confirming that your passport meets entry requirements and that you have proper documentation to reenter the U.S. (i.e. valid Permanent Resident Card).
- For medical volunteers, medical credentials must be valid for the duration of the medical mission.
- Program fees must be paid in full at least 4 weeks before the medical mission.
- Volunteers must be able to withstand up to 90 degrees F without air conditioning and walk approximately 1 mile to the surgery center and back each day.
- Late Cancellation Policy
- Refund Policy
- Rescheduled/Cancelled Medical Mission Policy
Participants wishing to withdraw from a medical mission or reschedule their trip must notify the Medical Missions Coordinator by email at least 45 days prior to the trip. Any other method of notification (i.e. telling a surgery center administrator or fellow participant) is not considered official notice of cancellation or rescheduling.
Participants who do not notify the Medical Missions Coordinator at least 45 days prior to the trip will be charged as $250 late fee. Medical emergencies or other extenuating circumstances may be considered differently. This policy will apply to all individuals who submit an application after March 1, 2017.
If a participant withdraws from a trip more than 45 days before the first Saturday of the mission, he/she will be refunded any program fees he/she has personally paid.
If a participant withdraws from a trip less than 45 days before the first Saturday of the mission, he/she will be refunded any program fees he/she has personally paid, minus a $250 late cancellation fee.
Any third party donations made towards the program fee will not be returned and will be considered donations to One World Surgery. We cannot provide refunds for flight costs.
One World Surgery reserves the right to cancel or reschedule a mission without notice. We may cancel a medical mission if conditions in Honduras are deemed unsafe. We rely on information and recommendations from the U.S. Department of State, the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, NPH, and other local sources in making these decisions. In the event that a medical mission is cancelled or rescheduled due to unsafe conditions in Honduras, participants will be offered the opportunity to move their registration to a future trip with openings. Participants may also opt to receive a refund of the program fees that they have personally paid prior to the cancellation.
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Where do medical missions take place?
Currently, all medical missions with One World Surgery take place at the Holy Family Surgery Center in Honduras. Our goal is to expand to additional developing countries.
What surgical specialties are provided on your medical missions?
Currently, surgical services are provided in the following specialties: general surgery; orthopedics; gynecology; urology; ophthalmology; and ear, nose, and throat. Three to four specialties are covered on any given trip.
How long is a medical mission?
All medical missions are 1 week long and take place from Saturday to Saturday.
How many people participate in a medical mission?
Most of our missions have an average of 45 volunteers, and the capacity is 60 volunteers per trip.
Can my kids attend?
Yes, children are welcome to attend a medical mission. The minimum recommended age is 5 years old, and children under 13 must be supervised by a nonclinical adult at all times. If you are a clinical volunteer, you must bring another adult family member or friend to help supervise younger children. Children will participate as general volunteers, rotating between different stations on the NPH ranch and in the surgery center. Please note that some stations have minimum age requirements.
Can nonmedical people attend?
Yes, nonmedical people are welcome. They will participate as general volunteers, rotating between different workstations on the NPH ranch and in the surgery center. Opportunities on the ranch include helping in the kitchen, tortilla house, garden, baby house, and grandparents’ house. Work at the surgery center stations includes turning over operating rooms, washing instruments, and helping nurses. When available, general volunteers may also be assigned to special projects in the surgery center or on the NPH ranch, according to their skillsets.
I can’t attend the entire week. Can I still apply for a medical mission?
All first-time volunteers are required to attend the surgery center orientation on Sunday afternoon. Please contact the Medical Missions Coordinator to confirm if a late arrival or early departure would be appropriate in your situation.
I’m not available during your scheduled trips. Can I volunteer at the Holy Family Surgery Center during another time?
At this time, volunteer opportunities at the surgery center are only offered during our scheduled medical missions.
When is the application deadline?
Applications are accepted year-round on a first come first served basis. Surgeon spots and summer trips start to fill a year in advance. Applications for the following year typically open in June.
Preparing for the Medical Mission
How do I book flights?
Volunteers are responsible for booking their own flights according to the guidelines found in the trip informational packet. Participants fly into Toncontín International Airport in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on the 1st Saturday of the mission and depart on the 2nd Saturday of the mission. Flights from the U.S. are offered on American Airlines (through Miami), United Airlines (through Houston), and Delta Airlines (through Atlanta).
What immunizations do I need?
Hepatitis A and Typhoid are the recommended immunizations for this trip. You will not be required to submit or show proof of these immunizations at any time. The first dose of the Hepatitis A vaccine must be given 1 month prior to travel. The Typhoid vaccine must be complete 1 week prior to travel. If you are travelling directly from a country with risk of Yellow Fever transmission (the U.S. is not one of these countries), you will be required to show proof of Yellow Fever vaccination.
What to Expect
I don’t speak Spanish. Can I still attend?
Yes, a team of interpreters works with us every mission.
What is the weather like in Honduras?
Honduras is hot and humid almost year-round. Temperatures vary by altitude rather than season. The average high temperature nationwide is 90°F and the average low is 68°F. June through November is considered the rainy season. December to May is considered the dry season. Mornings and evenings can be cooler (60°F) December-March.
Is it safe?
The surgery center is located approximately 1 hour northeast of Tegucigalpa on the 2,000 acre property of the children’s home Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH). We will remain on the NPH property for the entire trip, with exception of traveling to and from the airport. The NPH ranch is gated and patrolled 24/7 by a team of armed guards. Emergency medical and evacuation insurance is purchased for all volunteers for the duration of their stay. We have never experienced a security incident during a medical mission.
Will there be an opportunity to explore the city?
Volunteers are required to stay on the ranch property for the duration of the medical mission. Sightseeing is not included in the medical mission.
What is the typical schedule?
Saturday: Arrive and settle in, optional mass with the NPH community
Sunday: Ranch tour, activity with NPH children, surgery center orientation
Monday-Friday: Surgery and clinic all day, dinner and programming in the evening, half-day on Wednesday to explore the ranch
What is NPH?
NPH, or Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, is a children’s home that provides a loving environment to over 500 orphaned, abandoned, and disadvantaged children. NPH-Honduras is one of 9 homes in Latin America. The Holy Family Surgery Center is located on the NPH-Honduras property known as Rancho Santa Fe or “the ranch”. Visit the NPH website to learn more.
Will we have an opportunity to interact with the children?
Yes, opportunities will be built into the weekend schedule for all volunteers to interact with the children. Clinical volunteers will have limited time to interact with the children during surgery days. Children will be in classes during weekdays and may have chores after school.
Applying for the Medical Mission
I do not have my passport information available, or I am just applying for a passport. Can I still submit an application?
You can still submit your application. Please be sure to update your application later with your passport information.
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1. Create a Regpack account and complete the online application, indicating your preferred medical mission dates and role. You will immediately receive a submission acknowledgment email. You are not yet approved for a spot on the medical mission. Please do not purchase flights.
2. Within one week of submitting your application, you will receive an email indicating whether or not your application has been approved. If approved, the email will contain a link to the informational packet for your trip (includes details on booking flights, immunizations, etc.).
3. Renew passport and medical license, if applicable. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after last day in Honduras, and medical licenses must be valid for the duration of the trip.
4. Purchase flights (according to guidelines in the informational packet) and schedule immunization appointments, if necessary.
5. Any time after approval, return to the Regpack account you created when you submitted the initial application. Complete the follow-up items in your account no later than 4 weeks prior to your medical mission departure date. The progress bar on your account will help you keep track of your progress. It is not necessary to complete all the items at once. You can return to the account at any time.
Follow-Up Items May Include:
» Emergency Contact and Medical Information
» Special Skills Survey (general volunteers)
» Late Cancellation Agreement
» SCA Teammate Agreement (if applicable)
» Photo and Written Release
» Submission of passport and medical credentials (if applicable)
» Willful Participation Form
» Flight Itinerary
» Program Fee Payment (if applicable)
6. Volunteers will receive their first reminder email 3 months prior to the trip. Additional reminder emails will follow at the 2 month, 1 month, and 1 week marks.
7. About 4 weeks before the trip, volunteers will receive an email with details for a Pre-Trip Informational Call to be held approximately 2 weeks prior to the trip.
8. About 3 weeks before the trip, surgeons will receive an email from the Surgery Center Coordinators with details on possible cases.
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WHAT TO EXPECT
The surgery center has 3 operating rooms and 6 clinic/overnight bays. Surgeries take place Monday-Friday, with a shortened day on Wednesday to allow the team to experience the ranch and rest up for the rest of the week. Clinical volunteers spend the majority of their time in the surgery center, with some time built into the schedule to interact with the NPH children and enjoy ranch life. Surgeons split their time between performing surgery and seeing patients in the clinic. Our surgery center is well-stocked, but volunteers should come prepared to be creative using older-model and donated equipment and supplies. General volunteers, including students, will rotate among workstations in the surgery center and on the ranch.
Volunteers stay in semi-private rooms (2-8 people per room) in the Conference Center. The Conference Center is located on the NPH ranch property, about a 10 minute walk from the surgery center. The Conference Center provides a communal housing environment, and volunteers may share rooms with people they do not know. Every evening, the team comes together for dinner and programming. Frequent power outages, spotty internet connectivity, bugs, cool showers, and weak plumbing systems are facts of life in Honduras!
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