MEDICAL SERVANTS INTERNATIONAL
I would like to know more before I sign up…
1. How do you decide where teams will serve?
Medical Servants International (MSI) only goes to areas where the local pastors, missionaries, or health care providers have requested our assistance. We are committed to working alongside the in-country professionals who best know the needs of their people and communities and who are willing to do the preparatory work necessary to host a medical team.
The in-country professionals complete a detailed questionnaire to assure that we can indeed meet the area’s needs and that the accommodations and transportation will be appropriate for the medical team.
Missionaries, pastors, or health care professionals who are working in areas with little access to health care and are interested in hosting a medical team may contact us at John@MedicalServantsInternational.org
2. Who leads the teams?
Each MSI team is led by at least two individuals – each of whom has at least 10 years of experience in leading short-term medical mission teams. These individuals are knowledgeable in the logistics of international travel and customs, as well as the operations of medical clinics in rural settings.
3. What is included in the cost of the trip?
The cost of the trip includes airfare and in-country transportation, as well as all accommodations and most meals. Medical insurance that provides for medical evacuation if necessary, is also included.
A time of rest and relaxation is also included in the cost of most trips – see specific trip details for additional information.
Sometimes a visa is required to enter the foreign country, and, if so, there is often an additional fee that is not included in the cost of the trip. You will be informed if a visa will be necessary and the MSI leaders will assist you in obtaining the visa.
The cost of the trip also helps to pay for the medication and supplies used in the clinics.
4. How can I help fund my trip?
We do not want you to be deterred by the cost of the trip. There are many ways to help provide the funds for your trip, so please contact our office (John@MedicalServantsInternational.org) for specific suggestions. In addition, your family and friends may make tax deductible donations to Medical Servants International to help with scholarships for team members. Your church may also donate on your behalf.
5. Does MSI have any paid staff?
At the present time, all of our leaders work on a fully volunteer basis. We have no paid staff.
6. What does a typical clinic day look like?
The team usually wakes at 6 a.m., has a time of morning devotions and prayer, followed by breakfast. Then the team travels by bus or van to the village where the clinic will be held – usually a 1-2 hour ride.
Clinic can be set up in approximately 45 minutes as suitcases carrying medical and clinic supplies are dispersed to the various stations. Patients pass through the following stations:
1. Registration - where each patient receives a medical record
2. Triage / vital signs - where each patient has height, weight, temperature and other appropriate vital signs taken
3. Health Education – patients receive health education while waiting to see the medical providers
4. Medical providers / wound care / dentist – patients are triaged to the appropriate station depending upon their needs
5. Prayer and counseling – every patient is offered prayer and counseling with local pastors present
6. Pharmacy – patients receive vitamins, along with appropriately dosed medications as prescribed by health care providers
The clinic usually closes by 4 p.m. to allow for clean up as well as return travel during daylight hours.
7. How can I help if I am not a health care provider?
We need you!! Teams are made up of many people who are not health care providers. You can register patients, help take vital signs, provide health education with standardized charts, help transition patients through the various stations, and assist in prayer and counseling or pharmacy.
8. What happens if I become ill while on the trip?
One of the benefits of going on a short term mission trip with a medical team is that there are physicians and other health care providers who are available to provide care in the event you become ill. In addition, we bring many medications with us.
If you should need additional or more emergent medical care, MSI carries medical evacuation insurance to assure you are provided the best health care.
9. Do you have special guidelines for behavior while on the trip?
The MSI team physician will provide you with very specific information and guidelines to help you stay healthy while on the trip. We follow the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for food and water.
We also ask that all team members understand that we must be sensitive to the culture of the country we are visiting. We ask team members to avoid from smoking, drinking, using drugs, and public display of affection. We also request all clothing to be modest. When the accommodations allow for two people to be in one room, in keeping with our commitment to maintaining Biblical standards, unmarried couples will not be roomed together.
10. Is MSI affiliated with any specific church denomination?
MSI is not affiliated with a specific denomination, and our leaders attend different evangelical churches. We agree to the Statement of Faith, but understand that there are minor differences between denominations that are not felt to be relevant to our ministry.
11. Is there any time for shopping or rest / relaxation?
Yes. Most trips allow for 1-3 days of R&R. These arrangements depend upon the country in which we serve as well as the flight schedule that allow for the least expensive plane fare.
I am planning on going with you. Now what?
1. Turn in your application with deposit
The MSI application is available for download here TRIP APPLICATION FORM. Please print and return via regular mail along with the requested documents and deposit.
2. Make sure your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity (from the date of the end of the trip) and a minimum of 3 completely blank pages
3. Talk with your physician or a travel medicine clinic about necessary immunizations and medications. Please make an appointment with your personal physician or a travel medicine clinic as soon as you decide you will be participating with us. You may need immunizations and will probably need malaria prophylaxis medications that are only available by prescription.
Specific travel information is available at wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/. Under “For Travelers”, click on the appropriate country to see country-specific information.
Unless otherwise contra-indicated, you will likely need to have the following immunizations:
Hepatitis A (two doses)
Hepatitis B (three doses)
DTaP (one “booster” dose)
You should have also had the following routine vaccines as a child:
MMR – measles, mumps, rubella
Varicella – chicken pox
DTP – diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis
Depending upon the country visited, meningococcal meningitis and yellow fever immunizations may also be recommended.
Prescription medicine for malaria prevention will also probably be required.
4. Packing information will be sent to you
I am going, but I still have a few questions.
1. Do I have to make my travel arrangements?
No. MSI will make all the travel arrangements for you. We will ask you which airport you wish to use for your departure and return and will then make all flight arrangements for you.
2. Can I request travel arrangements that allow for “side trips”?
Yes, it may be possible for you to deviate from the planned trip either before or at the end of the trip. There will likely be additional costs associated with those changes.
3. How many suitcases can I take with me?
MSI will provide most team members with an MSI suitcase that contains clinic and medical supplies. You will be informed about the contents of your MSI suitcase and will never be asked to carry illegal or dangerous substances or drugs. Since international travelers are usually limited to two suitcases, you will be allowed to bring one suitcase with you for your personal items, along with one carry on. But please remember, Less is Best.
4. Shall I plan on collecting things to give away to patients such as eyeglasses, flip-flops, soap or shampoo?
MSI often brings such items to give away to patients. However, please check with our office
(John@MedicalServantsInternational.org) before you begin collecting these items as we must give priority to the clinic and medical supplies.
5. Will we be able to worship in a local church?
On most mission trips we do have the pleasure to worship in a local church with the pastors who are sponsoring our trip. This is dependent upon our flight arrangements as once again, we attempt to obtain the least expensive fares. The itinerary will indicate whether we will be worshipping in a local church, and if so, women are encouraged to wear a long skirt or dress.