You may think only charitable foundations can organize medical missions, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Big or small businesses, in fact, can also host it successfully. You don’t even have to be in the medical industry. In the Philippines, megacorporation J.G. Summit Petrochemicals Group held a medical mission on Valentine’s Day two years ago. The company sponsored free medical consultations and basic lab tests, including blood tests, urinalysis, and X-rays.
The community they helped, which were the residents of Brgy. Simlong in Batangas City stated that the medical mission had benefited them tremendously since they had difficult access to health care.
That said, your business should consider a medical mission as a corporate event. Given the pandemic, communities from impoverished areas are surely seeking quality health care. They need access to immunizations, screening, tests, and other forms of health checks and treatments that are hardly available in their areas.
Even if you can only hold a short-term medical mission, it doesn’t mean you won’t leave an impact. The key is to address the needs of each individual or family, making every person matter.
Reasons to Organize a Medical Mission
1. Poor Communities Deserves Access to Health Care
Poor communities, especially their children, suffer from malnutrition due to their economical disadvantage. Localities may host feeding programs for them or give them donations, but as long as the poor don’t have proper access to health care, they’d always suffer poor nutrition. Therefore, a medical mission will give them the chance to truly address their malnutrition.
2. You Offer the Poor Specific Health Services
Some medical missions only offer general checkups, but you can also include specific services. For example, dental procedures, diagnoses, circumcisions, or even minor surgery. You can also set up a mini pharmacy where the community members can get prescription drugs for free.
3. You Also Benefit Healthcare Workers
Doctors, medical students, and healthcare workers long to help people in need. By enlisting their services in a medical mission, you’re helping them fulfill their mission.
However, the cost of getting doctors for a medical mission can put a strain on your finances. The doctors themselves addressed this, stating that about a half of medical mission spending goes to travel costs for the teams. A health provider in Haiti once wondered how many antibiotics that money could’ve bought.
For that reason, doctors have started to consider if it’s time to rethink fly-in medical missions. By brainstorming with the doctors who want to help, you can come up with a clever strategy to provide healthcare without the burden of hefty costs. In the end, your business has saved money, the doctors provided care, and a poor community obtained the health services they need and deserve.
4. You Increase Your Organization’s Awareness About Poverty
Most people would only associate poverty with hunger, low wages, and lack of high-quality housing. They don’t typically think about poverty’s health implications in terms of diseases.
So by taking your organization on a medical mission, they’ll be able to open their eyes to the harsher realities of impoverished communities. They can also speak with community leaders and learn about their greatest health needs. In turn, your team can broaden their ideas on how to help. Considering the many limitations in remote areas, like the distance, population, and accessibility, your organization can also learn how to solve complex problems.
5. It Sharpens the Skill of Medical Students
Medical missions hone the skills of medical students in a rather unique way. First, they’re not in a sterile hospital, but rather in a tent with cots instead of standard hospital beds. This puts their training to the test, especially when they’re put in a situation where they have to make the decisions.
Since it’s your company that helped student volunteers go on a medical mission, you would definitely feel rewarded and fulfilled seeing its effects on them. You may even develop a common goal, inspiring you to hold more medical missions together.
How to Organize a Medical Mission
A lot of paperwork is involved in organizing a medical mission. The requirements vary depending on the place. If you’d go abroad, you need to present travel documents, professional licenses, working visas or permits, immunization records, and a list of the medications you’d bring, to name a few.
For the equipment, you can obtain high-quality portable ones from esteemed suppliers such as Lakeside Manufacturing. You may also need to sponsor your volunteers’ scrub suits or Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Frankly speaking, medical missions cost a lot. Your company will also shoulder travel, food, and accommodation expenses, after all. But the rewards will easily outweigh your spending. You’ve got to help the poor, gave a deeper sense of purpose to healthcare workers, and established a culture of compassion in your organization.