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Medical Mission Trip 2024 Updates

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Since 2014, HAND-Philippines has been working with a cluster of impoverished communities in northern Bohol. These communities regularly receive drug and equipment donations through our Adopt a Rural Health Center Program. Once a year, the organization brings US-based medical and non-medical professionals to render direct patient care and health screenings to these communities through the Foreign Surgical and Medical Mission (FSMM) Program. Patients served during our medical mission are routinely referred to the Municipal Health Office (aka local government doctor) for follow-up per Department of Health regulations.

For 2024, on top of our usual community-based medical mission in five mobile health clinics in Clarin, Inabanga, and Buenavista municipalities, we are excited to announce that we will be performing elective major surgeries such as cholecystectomies and hernia repairs through our partnership with local surgeons and hospitals. This means we are actively recruiting general surgeons, anesthesiologists, and OR nurses for this trip.

Our mission trips are designed such that the organization takes care of your needs, allowing you to focus on serving the sick. Uplifting lives halfway around the world, volunteers will come out of our mission trips with a sense of accomplishment. In addition, many volunteers are inspired to champion our causes beyond the medical mission and help us continue working to realize our goal of sustainable healthcare for the underserved.

Here is the breakdown of the medical mission schedule for 2024:

Arrival, team building, orientation, beach time: April 16 or 17 to 19

Clinic work days: April 20 to 24

Cultural Immersion (optional): April 25 to 28 or 29

Departure back to the US: April 28 or 29

Important Flight Routing Information

Ground staff are available for airport pick-ups and drop-offs at Cebu Mactan (CEB) International Airport and Tagbilaran Panglao International Airport (TAG). Should you decide to enter the country through Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila (MNL), make sure you also book a domestic flight to either CEB or TAG. Unfortunately, we cannot help you with transfers in MNL at this time. Regulations regarding COVID-19 are constantly changing; we will update you on the current protocols as they become available.

Lodging Options, Services, and Other Activities

For the first ten days, you will stay at the Home Base, where creature comforts are provided in a collegial and communal atmosphere. Most volunteers stay in shared accommodations. Private hotel accommodations at the town center are also available for an extra fee.

Our bucolic Home Base is located in Clarin, Bohol. It is a gated complex of houses with a large yard and a pool. Volunteers can spread out and find alone time for reading, yoga, or meditation in the verandas and lush gardens within the compound.  The rooms are quiet, clean, and air-conditioned. Meals are served in the main house, where we do our morning briefings. After returning from work, most volunteers usually hang out at the pool area for dinner and socialization. Services that come standard with your stay are wifi, laundry, room cleaning, and linen/towel services. Spa-type services, such as massage, reiki, reflexology, etc., are not included but may be booked through an outside provider. About two miles from the Home Base, the town center has ATMs, money exchanges, and groceries.

Group sightseeing trips and recreational activities in Bohol, one of the many tourist destinations in the country, are built into our mission trips. This includes beach time in Alona, an island hopping tour to see marine life in Balicasag, and inland excursions to check out the world-famous Chocolate Hills and the Tarsier Sanctuary.

Cultural Immersion

After the medical mission, we offer our volunteers an optional Cultural Immersion trip to relax, soak up the sun, and enjoy tourist activities before returning to the US. Participants may choose Cebu, El Nido, Coron, Boracay, or Siargao. Our Travel Coordinator will assist with bookings and payments to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible. 

Costs

International Airfare

Volunteers are expected to book and pay for their flights to and from the Philippines. Please let us know if you need personalized help in booking your flights. We highly recommend buying both flight and medical travel insurance. Once your flights are booked, please forward a copy of your itinerary to info@hand-philippines.org so we can arrange for your airport pick-up and drop-off.

The Medical Mission Fee

The Medical Mission Fee covers the following items from April 16 to 25 (ten days):

  1. Airport pick-ups and drop-offs at Cebu Mactan International Airport  (CEB) or Tagbilaran Panglao International Airport (TAG)

  2. Meals and beverages (non-alcoholic)

  3. Philippine Peso pocket money for incidentals

  4. Laundry while at Home Base

  5. Shared lodging at the Home Base

  6. Project-specific items: meds, surgical, dental, and laboratory supplies for the five mobile clinics

  7. Non-medical items: volunteer kits, scrub tops/shirts, pocket WiFi, and group sightseeing/recreational activities in Bohol

 

For 2024, the Medical Mission Fee depends on the volunteer type:

Doctors and dentists = $ 1,460

Nurses, CNAs, interns/residents/fellows, and other medical workers = $1,168

Non-medical volunteers = $1,095

Students = $949

Adult tag-a-long = $876

Child tag-a-long = $657

Returning volunteers: 20% discount

    Returning doctor/dentist = $1,168

    Returning nurse/medical volunteer = $934

    Returning nonmedical volunteer = $876

For comparison, last year, the MMF was a flat fee of $1,644.

The Medical Mission Fee may be paid in full or monthly installments. Also, volunteers are encouraged to fundraise during the Holiday Season to fully or partially subsidize the Medical Mission Fee.

Refund Policy Pertaining to the Medical Mission Fee

Given the nature of our nonprofit status, payments you made for yourself and donations made on your behalf are treated differently. If, for any legitimate reason, you cannot take the trip in 20234 but have already started paying the Medical Mission Fee, you may request a 100% credit towards the next medical mission trip or a refund minus a service charge of 3.49%. On the other hand, publicly sourced funds (the money you raised through fundraising) cannot be returned, and thus, the org will keep them as 100% credit for the next medical mission trip.

Cultural Immersion Cost

The cost associated with the optional Cultural Immersion is not included in the Medical Mission Fee and is handled separately by our Travel Coordinator. A rough estimate would be to budget $100-120 for roundtrip domestic flights, $80-120/night/room for hotel/resort accommodations, $75/day for meals/entertainment, and $75-100 for incidentals and local airport to hotel transportation. If you wish to go to Boracay, add 15-20% to the above prices.

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