“This is experience was very worthwhile. Not only were we able to learn a lot in the medical/pharmacy field but it really was an eye opening experience in becoming more aware of those less fortunate than us. It was a good feeling to be able to help those in need and really make the most out of it. Being exposed to foreign territory with a language barrier and very little experience really helped test my abilities to readjust and learn quickly. I enjoyed the challenge of thinking on my feet and having the responsibility of prepping patients for the doctors. I definitely learned a lot and enjoyed the trip in its entirety.”

–Duyen P., UC Berkeley

About Pharmacy Programs

In addition to providing pharmacy services, ISL’s pharmacy teams provide a variety of general medicine and public health services in developing communities. From urban centers to small towns and villages in remote areas, our teams work in various settings to provide field clinics in which patient needs are assessed, acute conditions are treated, and medications are prescribed.

Regardless of background, volunteers are able to receive an invaluable opportunity to not only observe doctors and pharmacists in action, but to actively assist with important aspects of health care and pharmacy under careful supervision.

Because we include pharmacy stations in all of our field clinics, ISL global health teams are also a good fit for pharmacy and pre-pharmacy students.

Who is Right for Pharmacy Teams

ISL’s Pharmacy teams are ideal for pharmacists and pharmacy techs, and medical, pharmacy, and PA students. Pre-health and pre-pharmacy students welcome!

What to Expect

Upon arrival in-country, you will be met at the airport by ISL staff. Your team’s first day will be busy with orientation and intensive training seminars on taking vitals, basic triage, medical Spanish, and pharmacology; then the community work begins! Your team will be involved in public health surveying and assisting in field clinics during the day, and participate in evening seminars on the procurement, processing, and applications of natural medicines, prevention and treatment of diseases common to the area and practice techniques such as suturing and administering injections. Your team will eat most dinners out in order to relax and experience the local culture and cuisine. You will learn a few traditional dances and explore some important historical/cultural sites.

Recreational opportunities vary by location, but you will have the opportunities to shop for local crafts and explore geographic treasures such as beaches, volcanoes, rainforests, or caves and explore ruins, city centers, or coffee plantations, and have time for activities such as ziplining and snorkeling!

Volunteer Involvement

Activities and special projects for pharmacy volunteers may include:

  • Counseling with a prescriber on proper selection of medications
  • Filing and compounding of prescriptions
  • Dispensing of medications and compounding of dosage forms
  • Management of inventory and pharmacy supplies and organization of pharmacy workflow
  • Counseling patients on medications, their proper use
  • Counseling patients on disease prevention and disease outcomes
  • Performing basic patient physical assessments
  • Performing health care screenings (e.g., blood glucose, blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol)
  • Educating patients on acute and chronic disease conditions (e.g., heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, heartburn, immunization, nutrition, hydration, adverse effects of medications, drug interactions, pain, infections)
  • Promoting wellness & disease prevention
  • Teaching ISL teams about medications (e.g., indications, pharmacology, adverse effects)

Pharmacy students can be a valuable asset to any ISL health team including Hike for Humanity.

Safety and Respect

For the sake of security, ISL volunteers remain together as a team from arrival to departure. Patient rights must be respected at all times; Patients have the right to refuse treatment.

ISL prohibits discrimination on the basis of color, national origin, disability, sex, gender identity, religion or any other factor.

What To Bring

You will need a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, otoscope, scrubs, donations of medications and medical supplies (optional), and funds sufficient to cover one meal per day, premium recreation, personal spending, and departure tax.

What ISL Provides

ISL Provides 24-hour accompaniment by professional, bilingual staff, airport pickup/drop off, all ground transportation, all lodging, two meals per day, drinking water, instruction by licensed medical professionals, project supplies and medications, and tours and basic recreation.

ISL also provides references of drugs available in the host country, a list of abbreviations used on medication orders, and medications and supplies and devices used in dispensing medications.

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