This summer, thousands of Americans will use precious vacation days to visit some of the neediest countries in the world. They will join volunteers from their church, school, hospital or community organization on a mission trip.
Mission trips provide much-needed volunteer help in some of the most resource-poor communities in the world. But the focus of the modern mission trip has changed. Instead of Americans going to direct others how to live, most trips are led by local leaders who instruct the volunteers on where they are needed, and how theycan best help the community.
Mission trip volunteers serve as construction workers, Vacation Bible School helpers, work in feeding programs and in local clinics. Medical mission volunteers provide critically needed health screening and treatment in rural and urban communities under-served by national health programs.
Each year, MAP International provides more than 2,000 MAP Medical Mission Packs to volunteers traveling overseas. Many are OTC (over-the-counter) Packs available to any team, even those traveling without a health care professional.
The contents of these packs include vitamins, antibiotic ointment, bandages, fever-reducers, sterile gloves, and other products, mostly donated by pharmaceutical companies who are part of the Partnership for Quality Medical Donations (PQMD). The products might seem common to many Americans, but they are rare and valuable for many clinics where treatment of a burn, fever, or wound can be life-saving.
For health care providers traveling overseas, the Medical Mission Packs Essential+ contain prescription medicines to treat everything from fungal infections to severe diarrhea and dehydration. A combination of donated and procured medicines make up these packs and custom packs are also available to meet specific needs.
The average prescription Medical Mission Pack contains more than $13,000 of goods that are invaluable for many clinics which cannot procure these drugs reliably themselves.
“Over the course of five days our group saw and treated 1,616 Haitian men, women and children. Seeing a face light up when I gave someone vitamins or pain medication is something I will never forget,” said Dr. Courtney Murphy, a physician who took MAP Medical Mission Packs to Haiti.
In addition to procuring and packing the medicines, MAP provides all of the customs forms and information by country to insure the products are brought in safely and are in full compliance with local health regulations.
“Volunteers help in many ways, but when they also bring medical supplies, the entire community benefits,” says Dr. Ken Culver, President and Executive Director of Foundation for Peace, which works in communities and sponsors medical and non-medical mission trips to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Kenya.
“Supplies are always low in clinics, so whatever a group can bring is an enormous benefit.”
In 2017, MAP supported more than 2,280 mission teams to help people in impoverished communities worldwide.
For more information about ordering Medical Mission Packs, click here.