Remote Communities of the Peruvian Amazon
Partner: Amazon Promise
Specialties Needed: Primary Care, Pediatric, Emergency, Geriatric
Estimated Airfare Cost: $700 – $1200
About Amazon Promise: The mission of Amazon Promise is to give essential medical care and attention that alleviates suffering, saves lives, and inspires hope to all concerned.
Amazon Promise is a global health nonprofit, non-sectarian organization formed to provide desperately needed medical care to remote, poverty-stricken populations living in the Upper Amazon Basin of Northeastern Peru. Amazon Promise provides on-going essential medical/dental services and health education to 32 geographically isolated jungle communities located throughout Loreto, Peru’s largest state, as well as to residents living in impoverished neighborhoods in the city of Iquitos and neighboring Belén.
AP frequently works where no one else will go and must often take extreme measures to get into the more inaccessible areas of the Amazon jungle. Since 1993, Amazon Promise has provided care to over 165,000 people, primarily young children and women of childbearing age.Whether it’s for a community of 30 people, 300, or 3000, Amazon Promise medical teams travel by canoe, motorboat, helicopter, or on foot, doing whatever is necessary to reach those most in need.
About the country: Peru literally has it all; beauty, a deep rich history, mystery, adventure, dramatic and diverse landscapes, unimaginable architectural feats, wildlife, bright vibrant people, and amazing food. The Peruvians pride themselves in their diversity and work hard to sustain their cultural practices, some which date back thousands of years before the Incas. Peru is diverse and magical with plants and creatures not found anywhere else on Earth where shamans/traditional healers still use the energy of Mother Earth as their guide.
The Amazon river starts up high in the Peruvian Andes near Machu Picchu and ends in the Atlantic Ocean over 3,278 miles from its source. Along the way it passes by our base city of Iquitos, the largest city in the world with no road access. It has two seasons; the wet and the dry, and water levels can fluctuate between 25 and 50 feet between the two seasons. Traditional medicine has been the main source of medical care in Peru for over 3,000 years. Since most of the Peruvian population cannot afford or has little to no access to doctors or Western medical care, many people, especially natives, turn to a shaman or curandero for both spiritual and physical medicine. Some 6.9 million Peruvians now live in poverty, 44 percent of whom are in rural Peru.
About the mission: Our team will depart from the city of Iquitos by bus for a two-hour ride to the port town of Nauta. From there we will transfer to our team boat and head to our base camp or community. We will either be based out of a rustic jungle camp/lodge, or set up tents in a community that offers basic amenities such as bathrooms and a bathing area. Clinics are held in a different community each day. Where our team stays will be determined about a month prior to departure. This team will most likely work in both jungle communities and impoverished neighborhoods located on the outskirts of Iquitos. For these days, the team will stay at a hotel.
Type of Accommodation: Either rustic jungle camp with elevated beds with mosquito nets, or we will be tent-based and set up our base camp in a community that offers bathrooms and a bathing area. While in Iquitos, the team will stay in a local 3 star hotel.
Practice: Medical volunteers provide the needed medical services, including consultations and performing minor procedures at Amazon Promise clinics. All members of the team work together to provide the best in patient care. A Peruvian MD is on-site for consultation as well. The most common health problems can be categorized into acute, chronic, and serious conditions. They include:
Acute: gastritis, diarrhea, parasites, URI (all types), headaches, pneumonia, STDs, UTIs, skin diseases (tinea-all types, impetigo, cellulitis, viral-herpes/varicella, abscesses, scabies, lice), back pain, general body aches, seizures, dehydration, and conjunctivitis
Chronic: asthma, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, anemia, pterygium, cataracts, malnourishment, depression, alcoholism, domestic abuse, dental disease
Serious: lacerations, snake bites, ray stings, catfish barbs, burns, untreated wounds, TB, incarcerated/strangulated hernias, HIV, severe dehydration, obstetric complications, malaria, Leptospirosis
If you are interested in more information or are thinking about applying for this trip, please contact the Making a Difference Foundation staff through the button below or call us at 866.608.1322.