With the Zika Virus present in many of the countries where UMVIM works, Zika prevention information is currently at the top of this page. Please scroll to find our standard information (medical missions best practices, public health, and the UMVIM Medical Blog).
Zika Virus Information
As the Zika Virus continues to spread across the Central and South America and the Caribbean--a part of the world where many UMVIM teams serve--we have partnered with the Center for Disease Control to educate teams who are traveling to Zika-affected areas.
The CDC has provided us with information that is now available to you directly through our website, though full information can be found on the CDC Zika Webpage. Please take the time to read the information on these pages thoroughly and share with your team members.
UMVIM Trips and Zika:
If you are traveling to a Zika-affected country, please assemble and carry a Zika Virus Prevention Kit. Each team member will need their own kit.
Birth defects are among the most serious side effects of Zika, and therefore UMVIM’s policy is to advise that no one who is attempting to get pregnant participate in an UMVIM mission journey to a country with active Zika cases. Please note that this advisory also includes males, as the virus can be spread by sexual contact.
At this time, we will continue to insure teams traveling to countries with active Zika cases. Refer to our Insurance FAQ page for full information on our insurance policies. As always, do not hesitate to contact UMVIM, SEJ with any questions or concerns.
Travel recommendations: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/zika-information
Countries and territories with outbreaks: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/index.html
Pregnant women information: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/pregnancy/
Parent information: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/parents/index.html
Zika Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/index.html
Zika Prevention Kit: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/prevention-kit.html
UMVIM Medical Missions
Medical teams have some unique steps to complete in preparation for travel. Talk with your host about credentialing requirements in the country in which you will be serving; you might also speak with a travel clinic about these requirements, as difference countries require different methods of presenting credentials. Here are some general guidelines for credentialing, through it is very important that you discuss these matters with your host:
- You will have to be cleared in some manner by an "official" body, usually the ministry of health.
- Requirements most often are proof of graduation from your professional school, current licensure to practice and completion of certain forms.
- Usually, nurses do not have to register for short-term work, but must work with a doctor or dentist.
- In most countries, physician assistants and nurse practitioners have no special status. In practice, as long as there are doctors working directly with them, they can perform similarly to the way they function in the United States.
- Malpractice in developing countries is not the problem that it is in the United States. If you have a concern, contact your personal insurer to see if you are covered. UMVIM's insurance does not cover malpractice provision.
Public Health Public health is a growing field in which UMVIM teams serve. Particularly in international contexts, public health teams serve to teach basic sanitation, disease prevention and health skills to groups who do not have regular access to care. Those participating in these projects need not necessarily be trained medical professionals, though the team leader will need to offer at least some "lay training" in public health before traveling. This a good opportunity to invite in a doctor or public health professional to train team members. Your host will know more about the requirements needed.
UMVIM Medical Blog
A wonderful resource for all medical volunteers is the UMVIM Medical Blog, run by Jane Dunn, who serves on our Board of Directors as the Medical Chair.
This blog contains valuable information, such as a Planning Guide for Medical-Focused Teams, a list of sites and projects that receive medical teams, health education downloads, and more.