What to Expect on Your Mobile Clinic Trip

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1 What to Expect on Your Mobile Clinic Trip When traveling to another country, expectations and standard of living can be very different than what you re used to due to poverty in developing areas. Always respect the country s culture and their traditions and come with an open mind and a positive attitude. Just remember why you decided to come on a mobile clinic in the first place, remember those good intentions, and make the most out of your trip. Making time each night to reflect on these things and on the people and places from each workday with your fellow chapter members or volunteers can go a long way in helping with this! Whether or not this is your first time abroad, we hope that this guide will help with preparing you mentally for your new location and make your experience more enjoyable. Airport Details: - If you plan to arrive during MEDLIFE s scheduled pickup time frame, you will be picked up in a group. Be aware that you will have to wait for the entire group to arrive (waiting times vary). - If you are arriving within MEDLIFE s scheduled pickup time frame and you do not want to wait for other flights to arrive with volunteers, or if you are arriving outside the given time frame, contact MEDLIFE so we can organize safe and individual transportation. However, this will be an additional out-of-pocket cost. - Please contact us at if you intend to have your own transport to the hostel and we can help set up the transportation service for you - If there are more than 15 people arriving or leaving outside of the scheduled timeframe on the same flight or timeframe, MEDLIFE will provide transport. Clinics/Project: - Sunscreen: if you are attending a Winter trip (months of December through January), make sure to apply and reapply sunscreen due to the high UV rays closer to the equator. - Those coming from North American winters may be extra susceptible to sunburns without sunscreen. Bring extra sunscreen because the price of sunscreen can be expensive. - Project day will/may:

2 - Include helping to build a staircase/bathrooms/etc so be prepared to work with cement/paint/etc and your clothes will get dirty. Have a separate set of clothes and shoes for your project day. - Require intensive manual labor, make sure to stay hydrated and get a good night s rest the night before you are scheduled for projects - Get Rest: We don t discourage volunteers going out, but remember you do have volunteer work the next morning, so be prepared to bring your A-game. - Bathroom availability: during project/clinics may vary since access is dependent on the clinic site and the bathrooms there. It is a good idea to bring some toilet paper/hand sanitizer of your own to the field with you. - Skip to the Clinic Station Expectations section to read about specific clinic stations and what you will be doing Food and Water: - Breakfast is provided every day by the hostel on all clinic days. Breakfast will usually consist of eggs, bread, jam/jelly, juice, coffee or tea. Variety of foods during breakfast is not a common concept in the countries MEDLIFE works in so do not expect day-to-day variety for breakfast. - Lunch will be provided by the hostel on all clinic days. Your bagged lunches will typically consist of (2) sandwiches (poultry and vegetables), a bag of chips, a sweeter snack, an orange or banana, and a water bottle. - Prior to arrival, individuals are able to request dietary restricted meals (i.e. vegetarian, gluten free, etc.). MEDLIFE works to ensure that every dietary restriction is taken seriously and that there are alternatives for those that request vegetarian/gluten free/etc. meals prior to your arrival. Because provided meals are purchased prior to the start of each clinic, volunteers requesting specific dietary meals must stick to their request throughout the week. Likewise, volunteers that have not requested specific dietary meals before arriving are unable to switch meal plans throughout the clinic week. - Food safety: Meals are prepared fresh every day and stored in coolers with ice packs to stay fresh. - Water in other countries is typically not safe to drink so only drink from bottled water. - Always take precautions when eating certain foods, especially if not fully cooked or without a peel to avoid getting an upset stomach - Pack some medicine for your stomach to just be safe - Expect to eat each location s traditional foods at the hostels. - Keep in mind: there are other options besides the food MEDLIFE provides that are close to the hostels that you can purchase out-of-pocket Hostel Living: - Hostels will usually house many volunteers at once, expect to share rooms and bathrooms with multiple individuals - Keep personal belongings stored away and locked to prevent items from loss or theft

3 - Shower temperature and pressure will not be consistent in some locations due to heating systems and plumbing. There may be times when you will have to shower with lukewarm or cold water. - Wi-fi will be provided in the hostel but it may not be as efficient as what you may be used to - Bathrooms ask you NOT to throw your toilet paper/feminine products into the toilet, but instead to put it into the trash. The plumbing system is different from the US/Canada. Safety: - At night do your best to walk around in groups of 3 or more. Be aware that less conservative attire and behavior will draw unwanted attention. - Always be aware of your surroundings, and make sure anything of value is concealed when out in public (especially on the buses). Try not to wear flashy jewelry or flaunt iphones, nice cameras, etc. in busy areas, as this may cause pickpockets to target you. - Be wary of taking cabs off the street, especially alone at night. They are private taxis and are not regulated by the government, so they are not as secure. - Ask your clinic leader for taxi options that are both safe and affordable. Schedules and Logistics: - There will be a schedule for the week, however timing may be off or the schedule may move around so be flexible and patient. It is important to understand that punctuality is not as emphasized in cultures outside of the US. - Although there will be English translators at most clinic activities, there may be times when there are not enough translators during your mobile clinic week. Try your best to practice some Spanish or Swahili phrases. Don t be afraid to communicate with the staff and patients and make an effort to help out and make the most out of your time. - Some of our clinic sites are new and the logistics are not as smooth as others. - Expect to be helping with set up and waiting for patients - Groups go to different communities each day (different staff/volunteers/patients) so the amount of patients may vary day to day. For this reason, please be understanding of any delays or confusion you experience on your clinic. Clinic Station Expectations: Be aware that you will be working very closely with local doctors and nurses. Thus, not every local MEDLIFE staff member is bilingual. This is your chance to challenge yourselves in learning a new language! Take advantage of it and do not be afraid to ask the staff questions or to practice speaking Spanish/Swahili with them! MEDLIFE has worked very hard to build the level of trust it shares with the communities you will work in. Please treat the patients professionally and with sincerity. This includes maintaining patient confidentiality. Triage:

4 - Welcome patients - Record blood pressure, temperature, height, weight on their forms - Lead patients to Education station Education: - Assist nurses in handing out materials and leading discussions on healthful living - Ensure that all patient forms are in order of which station they will be going to next (Dental, OB/GYN, Pharmacy) - Lead patients to Doctor station Doctor: - Keep in mind that some doctors speak more English than others. This should not hinder you from practicing your language skills and asking questions! - Practice your language skills by listening closely to each patient's symptoms and the doctor s diagnoses - Be sure to ask the doctors plenty of questions to ensure you learn the area s most frequent health issues - Ask the doctor questions when they are not with a patient or working. Be mindful of their time and job - Consider and discuss why these specific health issues are prevalent in the community (i.e. possibly linked to geographic location, water contamination, hygiene) - Lead patient to his/her next station Dentist: (not in Moshi) - This is one of the most hands-on stations! - Fill out the patient s forms based on what the dentist says (i.e. cavities, fillings, etc.) - Provide the dentist with the correct dental instruments when working with patients - Assist the dentist by holding instruments when needed (i.e. suction, LED light, etc.) - Lead patient to his/her next station - Currently, this station is unavailable in Tanzania OB/GYN: (not in Moshi) - You will be working with patients in an extremely private environment. Be sure to monitor your facial expressions and body language as it is very important that MEDLIFE maintains its trust with patients! (This station is only for female volunteers)

5 - In most of the communities MEDLIFE works in, sexual health (or lack thereof) is an extremely private and taboo topic. Keep in mind that many women are hesitant to see the gynecologist, so a foreign and young presence may be even more intimidating. Be sincere and compassionate. - Provide the gynecologist with the proper equipment when asked - Assist the gynecologist by holding instruments when needed (i.e.; pap smear equipment, flashlights, microscope slides, etc.) - Assist the gynecologist with breast examinations - Lead patient to her next station - Currently this station is unavailable in Tanzania Pharmacy: - Organize prescriptions alongside nurses - Retrieve each patient s medical forms and work with the nurses to fill prescriptions - Organization is key to ensure that each patient receives the correct prescription Malaria: (only in Moshi) - Assist health professional in completing the procedure to test for Malaria and blood sugar levels - Provide patients with public health education on Malaria and how to prevent infection - Consider how a patient s respective test results have implications of his/her diet, lifestyle, etc. - Help move patients between necessary stations Toothbrushing: - You will be working directly with the children, which is great for practicing the local language! - Set up: cups of water with a toothbrush in each, toothpaste and paper towels nearby, take-home bags to carry each child s toothbrush and toothpaste - Show each child how to brush his/her teeth (put a sufficient amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush, brush lightly in circular motions for 1 minute, do not swallow toothpaste but spit it out, rinse mouth with water) - It is important to teach the children how to brush their teeth instead of you just brushing their teeth for them - Make a note of their name and age on a paper that will be provided to you - For children 3+ ONLY, put fluoride on their teeth after brushing their teeth and tell the children and their parents not to eat or drink for 1 hour and not to drink milk for 1 day

6 - Inform each child when to brush each day (in the morning, after meals, before bed) - Be sure to draw a smiley face on each child s hand once they receive care and that each child leaves with his/her take-home bag - Make brushing teeth a FUN and EXCITING activity so each child continues it! *A Spanish children s song you can sing: Los dientes de arriba se cepillan hacia abajo. Los dientes de abajo se cepillan hacia arriba. Y las muelitas y las muelitas en movimiento circular. In English: The top teeth are brushed downwards. The bottom teeth are brushed upwards. And the molars and the molars in circular motion. Post Clinic Activities MEDLIFE nationals have planned some activities for volunteers after dinner for the majority of the week. These activities are interactive are are meant to be something fun and educative for volunteers. We hope volunteers will participate and benefit from them.

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