Volunteer - ServePuertoRico

Following the devastation of hurricane Maria in 2017 and a sudden need for emergency medicine, IMANA responded by dispatching medical teams to San Juan to aid in recovery efforts at understaffed health facilities. The consequential effects from hurricane Maria are very much still visible to this day in the shortage of qualified healthcare personnel and limited access to healthcare facilities in the poorer suburbs and rural areas throughout the island.

After the hurricane the age demographics in Puerto Rico have quickly shifted to be mostly older, as many younger individuals have moved the US mainland. Commuting to and having healthcare access for even the most basic needs for this older population has become difficult. A combination of these factors, mixed with the many low-income population concentrations, have created a unique healthcare concern that IMANA aims to tackle and alleviate in its capacity as a medical relief organization. We are starting regular primary care missions to Puerto Rico as our contribution towards the primary healthcare of Puerto Ricans.

Volunteer Opportunities

ServePuertoRico Medical Missions

There are currently no missions available at this time, please check back or subscribe to our emails to stay updated!

ServePuertoRico Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any pandemic related requirements or restrictions when traveling to Puerto Rico?

Currently, proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test are not required to enter Puerto Rico when traveling from the U.S.A. mainland. However, if you are traveling on an international flight, you will be required to present a negative PCR or antigen test taken 24 hours before departure and have proof of vaccination.
Find the latest information: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/puerto-rico?s_cid=ncezid-dgmq-travel-single-001

What is the name of the camp where we shall set up a clinic? Where in Puerto Rico is it located?

There are more than one clinic locations, closest of which are in the low-income communities on the periphery of San Juan. There are other rural locations approximately 1.5 to 2 hours away. Our local partners identify the locations depending upon patient concentration, size of mission team and other factors, and these are communicated to the volunteers prior to the trip.

What does the schedule for the mission look like?

Volunteers are required to arrive the Saturday that precedes the week of the mission. The first Sunday is reserved for traveling to the first rural clinic location. Clinic workdays will be from Monday to Saturday. The following Sunday, volunteers will return home.

How are medications dispensed? Is there a pharmacy on-site or do we only write prescriptions?

Per our formulary, our local partners will procure and store medications in their facilities to be used by the mission team at the various clinic locations. They will also arrange a pharmacist for dispensing medicines to the patients.

Are there certain illnesses, diseases, or aspects we should be aware of that are unique to this population?

The Chair of Relief Committee will brief the team on clinical aspects in detail before departure. An informative booklet is also shared with the team, which has been developed with inputs from local organizations. The focus of these missions is predominantly primary care and geriatric care.

What about patients requiring follow up care. How is this taken care of since we are only there for one week?

Our teams try to limit themselves to cases requiring little or no follow up care. Any cases requiring follow up care are referred to local facilities. That is the nature of most medical relief work. Continuity of care will be provided by rotating teams every other month.

What type of testing is available - any X-ray machines or the like? Is laboratory testing available?

Our local partners will work with municipal authorities and private labs to allow for the most common basic tests to be done for patients.

How are language barriers addressed? Will there be translators?

Translators will be available; there is usually one translator per physician.

What are the types of expenses involved for this mission?

Volunteers only pay for their air tickets to and from Puerto Rico, and a few evening meals. IMR arranges everything else – food, transportation, and accommodation.

Do I need a visa to travel to Puerto Rico?

No, a visa is not needed by US citizens and legal residents to travel to Puerto Rico. Any kind of government issued ID, like driver license, is sufficient to travel to and from PR. However, if you are not a US citizen or legal resident, a passport/visa will be required.

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IMANA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations to IMANA and IMANA Medical Relief are tax exempt. Tax ID: #36-4166125