FFP nursing/medical trips provide important benefits to those served and those serving! Many local people lack access to healthcare due to inability to pay for treatment and transportation. We strive to bring a team to the communities where we work several times a year to provide some continuity of care. The experience is so powerful for trip participants that many providers who come as students on a trip ask to return yearly with the team to continue their service.
Where do our teams work?
FFP medical teams typically provide mobile medical clinics in the largest available structure in the community, usually schools or churches. The communities prioritized are in impoverished urban neighborhoods, small towns or rural areas where people have little access to medical care due to distance, lack of funds or both.
How is the clinic organized?
Large rooms are organized into examination areas. Desks are provided for the providers and chairs and benches for the families.
The FFP Country Medical Director and local physicians supervise our teams to ensure decisions are consistent with country medical practice and to facilitate patient follow-up. FFP also provides qualified translators for the non-English speaking providers.
Patients are seen in family groups up to five people (often mother or aunt with children). Anyone is the community is eligible to see a physician for free regardless of ethnicity, race, gender, socioeconomic status and creed. Priority is given to the sick.
Where practical, our FFP staff registers patients the day before and gives them an appointment time. This avoids families waiting long periods in the hot sun and worrying if they are going to see a provider.
We establish a temporary pharmacy with a variety of OTC and prescription medications including analgesics, antihistamines and anti-infectives such as antibiotics, anti-fungals and anti-parasitics. All medicines are provided free of charge. Urinalysis and pregnancy testing are usually available.
Students on trips typically work in small groups with a translator to perform a history and physical assessment. Students then review the case with the faculty. Through this experience they learn a great deal about culture, local needs and receive valuable clinical experience.
Other team activities
Teams may also offer health education in the local language during the clinics which is vital for wellness. Teams commonly also provide soap, toothbrushes and other important materials to maintain good health.
A tour of a local hospital and/or a visit to an orphanage to provide activities for children may be part of the itinerary.
A trip to see natural beauty of the country (e.g. the beach, a hike to a waterfall) and/or a cultural visit is usually included. There may be additional costs associated with these excursions.
Additional FFP Features
FFP provides full-time, year-round bilingual staff who are with the team 24/7. The lodging is comfortable mission housing, usually bunk beds and shared bathrooms. FFP cooks are used to cooking for North Americans and food is healthy and delicious.
The in-country fees cover the following: transportation (beginning at the airport upon your arrival), lodging, food, purified water, security, translators, mobile medical clinic set-up, and supervising physician(s). The fees do not cover personal purchases, beach costs and exclusions.
How to join a trip
Most teams are formed and lead by a nursing or medical school from the US. Organizations can reserve dates and bring their own team, ideally of 12 or more.
In addition, we provide the opportunity to join one of several open trips to Haiti and the Dominican Republic lead by our FFP staff. These trips are available for nurses, physicians, physician assistants and other medical professionals (including students). There is also one FFP trip to Kenya each year that has a medical care focus.
More details of these opportunities can be found on the sign-up for a trip page. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Dominican Republic: Airfare and $110 per person per day including day of arrival and day of departure, and a donation for medicines (amount depends on number of patients expected)
Haiti: Airfare plus $120 per person per day including day of arrival and day of departure, and a donation for medicines (amount depends on number of patients expected)
There is a non-refundable $250 per person deposit. For cancellations >90 days before trip, FFP will refund 100% of the amount above $250. Between 30 and 90 days a 50% refund for amount above $250. No refund for cancellations within 30 days of trip.