Global Health Volunteer: Alajuelita, Costa Rica
Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children
A group opportunity. Invite your friends.
32 people are interested
About the Community
Five kilometers outside of San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, approximately twelve thousand five hundred Nicaraguan refugees and impoverished Costa Rican citizens settled outside of central Alajuelita ("Little Alajuela"). The majority of this population, comprised largely of women and their children, is medically uninsured. Admirably, Costa Rica promises universal healthcare to its native 4.2 million citizens; unfortunately, the poorest sector of the population slips through bureaucratic cracks and Nicaraguan political refugees still receive no insurance. Though the World Health Organization estimates a remarkable eighty-nine percent of Costa Rica's population have primary medical insurance, many people including Nicaraguan refugees still struggle to find much needed healthcare.
The most significant medical issues plaguing this population are readily treatable with preventative measures, education initiatives and continuous healthcare monitoring: diarrhea, head lice, malnutrition, persistent bronchial infections, gastrointestinal microbe infections, unplanned pregnancies, alcoholism, drug addiction, and HIV. Coupled with these medical issues are equally persistent and pervasive social problems--the absence of clean water and sanitation facilities in rural areas, absent or overcrowded schools, underemployment, and increasing dropout rates in school.
The FIMRC clinic in San Felipe, Alajuelita was established in January of 2005 and is just a short walk to the underserved communities, Jasmn ("Jasmine") and Los Pinos ("The Pines"). The centrally located space serves as a FIMRC base within the community for well-child and acute care visits, as well as psychological services.
The nature of a volunteer mission to Alajuelita will vary depending on the number of volunteers in each group, the length of the volunteer trip, respective proficiencies in Spanish, medical expertise, and the current needs of the community and the clinic upon arrival. What FIMRC can guarantee, however, is that every volunteer mission will be culturally and socially enlightening to its volunteers. Each volunteer will have opportunities to examine Costa Rica’s systems of medical provision in numerous ways and learn about health care disparities as outlined below.
Outside FIMRC’s clinic, volunteers will develop health educational initiatives in Tejarcillos, a soup kitchen located in the underserved areas of Alajuelita where children play in safety and receive hot meals daily. In addition, volunteers may spend time conducting house visits to provide preventative health education to local families on topics such as hygiene and water contamination.
Progress in the clinic accelerates daily, and volunteers maintain important roles in the clinic’s future. Activities include establishing medical record systems, building health education curricula on the topics of HIV, parasites, or dental health, charting patients’ vital signs, and observing clinical interactions with medical staff. There are many opportunities for shaping an itinerary to skills or interests, as FIMRC’s goal is to provide every volunteer a memorable, worthwhile experience that will leave lasting impressions about healthcare in developing communities.
Project Alajuelita currently welcomes volunteers traveling individually or in groups. Volunteer activities run year-round, so please contact us with the dates you would like to travel!
About Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children
1518 Walnut St., Suite 1504, Philadelphia, PA 19102, US
Our mission is to provide access to medical care for underprivileged and medically underserved families around the world.
We work to accomplish our mission in the following ways:ACCESS
First and foremost, we look at access to healthcare. Can our community members easily get to a clinic? What do they do in case of an emergency? In areas where no clinical services are available, we work with the community to build out the necessary infrastructure to improve access. Whether it be the construction of our own clinic or modifying a building within the community, we work to ensure that the communities we serve have the ability to seek a healthcare professional.EDUCATION
Another major focus of our work is preventative health. We work hard to integrate into our communities to address local needs and launch outreach programs. We listen to our community members, the Ministry of Health and other major organizations in the communities where we work and build health education programs based on the feedback.
A key component of our success is participation. Participation from community members is vital, as we ask the community to work alongside us in improving health in the communities in which we work.
We also believe in participation from the global community. That's why FIMRC engages volunteers from all walks of life to participate in our programs. The Global Health Volunteer Program, Chaptership Program and Internship Program are all ways in which we hope to inspire the global community to help improve the health of those that we serve.
Through determination and the belief that all children deserve health, FIMRC declares itself as a major force in the delivery of healthcare worldwide - one clinic and one child at a time.
FIMRC is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health of families in the developing world through the implementation of innovative and self-sustainable health improvement programs. Through its network of outpatient clinics and partnerships, FIMRC asserts a multidimensional strategy that includes clinical services, extensive community outreach efforts and health education programs.
FIMRC is a self-sustainable organization with project related funding provided from business operations - the Global Health Volunteer Program engages approximately 800 individuals annually who volunteer their time abroad and make a contribution in exchange for the experience FIMRC provides. Over 90% of FIMRC’s revenue is derived from our volunteer program.
FIMRC was founded in 2002, is incorporated in Washington, DC and headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. The FIMRC team includes over 3,000 dedicated staff and volunteers worldwide who provide the leadership and support necessary to achieve our mission of improving access to health care for children in underserved communities.