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Volunteer for the Visayans

Rural Health Clinic Assistant

This volunteer program is great for volunteers looking to experience public health services in the Philippines and put to good use their medical skills and know-how.

About the Program

By volunteering at a Rural Health Clinic, you can help augment support to understaffed and underfunded health clinics in rural towns outside Tacloban City.

This volunteer program is great for volunteers looking to experience public health services in the Philippines or looking to apply their professional medical skills in a rewarding environment.

Rural Health Clinics serve as the main source of free basic healthcare for rural communities around Tacloban City.

It is at these clinics where one doctor and a handful of nurses have the sole responsibility of looking after a community of thousands of people whilst at the same time having only a limited number of resources at their disposal.

The clinics will benefit greatly from the services of volunteer medical professionals and qualified students. Volunteers who are being recruited include doctors, nurses, medical assistants, and medical and nursing  students.

Profile

A Rural Health Clinic can be found in every town or municipality in the Philippines. It is headed by a public health doctor who is a general practitioner. It also has one regular public health nurse, one midwife and one dentist. The rest of the nurses are employed on a 6 or 12-month contract under the special employment program of the Department of Health.

The Rural Health Clinic is a walk-in free clinic that serves the whole community. It is a government-run health facility that accepts patients of all ages, generally those who cannot afford to see specialist doctors. It is open during the weekdays, from Monday to Friday at 8 am to 5 pm except on holidays. General consultation, pediatrics, pre-natal check-ups, and dental services are provided according to their scheduled days within the week. The emergency and birthing units are however open 24/7 to attend to the patients.

As a primary healthcare facility, it conducts general consultation, minor surgeries, immunizations, pre-natal checks, normal deliveries, and regular village visits. The birthing clinic is in place to cater to mothers due for normal delivery. Once it is determined that the mother has to undergo caesarian section delivery, she will be referred to the nearest public hospital. The medical team goes to the villages to deliver health services. During such occasions, health education is also being conducted. The clinic has a dental section which provides basic dental services like tooth extraction.

The clinic has no state-of-the-art medical equipment but only has the basic tools required for consultation and minor surgeries. Even supplies such as cotton, betadine, alcohol, bandages, face mask are normally lacking. The medicines supplied by the government is not enough and usually runs out fast. At this point, the doctor gives the prescription and advices the patient to use their own money to purchase the medicine.

With only one doctor who attends seminars, conferences, meeting, and other events, it is too common to see the doctor away and consultation suspended. The nurses on duty see patients with minor and uncomplicated complaints but when the doctor’s expertise is required, the patient is referred to the nearest hospital.

Why We Need You

Health care professionals unquestionably have a strong desire to help others. They work under stressful conditions, but persevere because, as they see patients improve or maintain wellness, they know they are making a difference.

The health care professionals at this rural medical clinic are making a tremendous difference in the lives of their patients. However, because of understaffing and underfunding, they are unable to adequately address the medical needs of the community. You will see for yourself how short-handed they are, and you will know from the very start that you are in a position to make a valuable contribution.

By volunteering for this program, individuals embarking on a career in health care will be able to gain valuable experience in their chosen fields. Established professionals will have the opportunity to share their knowledge and skills whilst learning about health care conditions in a developing country. Many previous volunteers have said that this placement was an eye-opener that has not only given them a new perspective of their profession, but also of their own lives.

Role of the Volunteer

The volunteer will work alongside nurses, midwives, and the doctor.  Working hours for the volunteer is at least 4 hours daily from Monday to Friday, 8 am to 12 noon except during holidays. During village visits, working hours are usually extended until the afternoon.

The placement is offered medical professionals and students alike to provide them an experience in public health. For students, the clinic also serves as internship placement. To licensed medical professionals, clinic provides them the means to use their knowledge to help the community.

The nature of a volunteer’s involvement at the clinic depends on his/her qualification and skill set. Normally, a volunteer assists in taking patient information and vitals. A qualified volunteer can help with immunization. Pre-natal check is done manually and is something that the volunteer can also learn to perform.  Village visits are great opportunity to observe the rural areas and assist in delivering the medical services. It is also a good opportunity to conduct brief health lectures or distribute brochures on important health issues.

A medical student volunteer spends more time assisting and shadowing the doctor although he/she also works with the other staff. A doctor volunteer works alongside the local doctor during consultation. He/she is particularly useful when the doctor is not around, which is too often. With the help of a local staff, usually a nurse to translate, the doctor volunteer is given the responsibility to consult patients. A doctor may also initiate transfer of knowledge through workshop or capacity-building.

The work place is different from what a volunteer is used to in his/her home country. In the Philippines even the healthcare facility has a relatively relaxed environment so the volunteer should understand this and use some patience.

Patients always come in the morning to see the doctor, hence mornings are usually busy. Even if consultation is open until 5 pm, few patients come in the afternoon. For this reason, the clinic is quiet and so volunteers do not work at this time.

Dress Code

The rural health clinic is very specific when it comes to attire. As a member of the medical team and to be identified as such, the volunteer must wear scrub suits while on duty. He/she may opt to change into scrubs once he/she arrives at the clinic or wear it right away before leaving home. Outside work, a volunteer can wear more comfortable clothing such as shorts and tank tops and wear flip flops.

Transportation Going To and From Placement

During placement, the volunteer will take public transportation. Please be patient when traveling between home and placement.

The commute to the rural health clinic takes between 45 minutes to at most 1 and half hours depending on the distance from Bliss, and the time it takes to wait for a jeepney which can sometimes take longer than 15 minutes. There is no specific schedule for a jeepney’s  trip. Jeepneys just come along anytime, hence a time should be allotted in waiting for them.  They normally stop quite often on its route to pick up or drop off passengers.

Volunteer will be briefed on getting to placement and back to Tacloban during the placement orientation at the beginning of the program.

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

Typical day

A typical day for a rural health clinic volunteer starts as early as 5:30 rising up from bed, having breakfast, and preparing to leave for work. 

At 7:00 am, the volunteer should be already on a jeepney going to the placement. Commuting to the clinic could sometimes take one and a half hours and getting there on time is important since patients always come early in the morning. 

At the clinic, the volunteer would assist the doctor and work with the rest of the medical team. On the average, the clinics attend to 30-50 patients everyday and one to two normal deliveries daily. The volunteer may assist from taking patient's vitals to doing general medical check-ups or performing minor surgeries depending on the level of knowledge and skill  he or she possesses. 

On scheduled days, the volunteer together with the medical team would go out to the villages to deliver health services to the locals like immunization, pre-natal checks, and information dissemination or campaign about certain health issues. Attending to the patients at the clinic or in the villages are done in the morning and afternoon are usually spent doing paper works and reports. 

The volunteer may opt to stay or may go back to the city to rest or to do other side programs at VFV center. Dinner at the volunteer's homestay at around 6 pm wraps up the day.

Details on Arrival

Volunteers can apply anytime throughout the year. They may choose to arrive at anytime of their convenience and a volunteer coordinator is always available to pick them up at the airport. 

Pre-departure information is sent during application process and an in-depth program orientation is also conducted upon arrival. The program may start at once the following day after arrival and will follow clinic hours which is Monday to Friday, 8:00 am until 5:00 pm. 



Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s).
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Health Declaration
required
Criminal Background Check
required
Education Requirements
Medicine, Public Health, Nursing at University level
Required Documents
CV with photo, Passport, Police Check and and Character References
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:00 - 17:00

Any questions? Just ask. We at Volunteer for the Visayans are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator

Free-time activities

Our volunteers can use their free time either for their personal activities or for organizing side projects with our sponsored kids, with the Boys and Girls Club or with the moms under our Laura's Craft and Mother's Club. 

The former may include a trip to some of the beautiful white-sand beaches and sandbars, islands, waterfalls, underground river, surf camps, and caves found in the region while the latter can include baking sessions with the local moms, dance tutorials with the teens, or teaching any other craft or life skills to the locals. 

Our volunteers would usually organize those activities as a group during long weekends or holidays. We also have our Volunteer's Lounge which has wi-fi and where volunteers can hang around with fellow volunteers. They can also use the lounge for a movie night once a week. 

Water Sports
Swimming
Concert/Music
Diving/Snorkling
Climbing
Hiking
Sports
Yoga/Meditation
Contact & Reservation
$173
/week
$173
/week
4 - 24
weeks
4 - 24
weeks
18+
age
18+
age
Airport Pickup
Housing
Food
Internet
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Included Services

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Services by Volunteer for the Visayans

Included in the Program Fee are the following:

  • Airport Reception and Drop-off
  • Accommodation with Local Host Family with 2 meals a day (breakfast and dinner)
  • Comprehensive Program Orientation
  • Basic Waray-Waray Language Lesson
  • Volunteers Excursion
  • Project Tour
  • 24-hour Local Staff Support

Airport Pickup at Ninoy Aquino International

Upon arrival in Tacloban, a coordinator will meet you at the airport and introduce you to the rest of the VFV staff and your homestay family. After this you will be provided with a full orientation on Volunteer for the Visayans as well as a short comprehensive health and safety briefing.

Following this, you will be escorted by one of our coordinators and shown how to use the local transport system. You will be shown how to get back and forth from your volunteer placement as well as being briefed on how to get to a variety of different points of interest.

Accommodation

Volunteers assigned to our Tacloban area projects will be placed with homestays in Bliss, where we are located. Bliss is a congested, low-income neighborhood but it has a low crime rate and is safe. There is strong community cohesion and pride, and the neighborhood homes and surroundings are relatively well-maintained. Our community center is located in the middle of Bliss. 

An adjacent basketball court area serves as a gathering place for the community. Here you’ll see youth playing basketball; tethered cocks staking out their territories on the sidelines; children keeping busy; adults sitting on benches, exchanges stories; slabs of meat being cut on portable tables; and vendors selling their wares.

Most of our homestay families have been with us for many years and are experienced in working with international volunteers. They take pride in their role and view the volunteer as a valued member of the family. They want volunteers to experience Filipino culture and participate in the family’s daily activities as well as special celebrations that come up. 

All homes have electricity and running water. You will have a private bedroom for you alone or that you share with another volunteer, and you will sleep under a mosquito net. A fan will be provided as none of the homes are air-conditioned. There is just one bathroom in the house that is shared by all family members. Your home will be safe, clean and comfortable, but living conditions will be much lower than in developed country.

The bathroom accommodations, in particular, are very basic and volunteers will be taking cold water, bucket baths. Because the weather in the Philippines is tropical, volunteers typically say that the cold water baths have been refreshing. However, each person needs to consider whether these conditions will be acceptable. 

There will be other things to adjust to, including the neighborhood roosters who will announce the start of a new day with pre-dawn crowing. You will be taken out of your comfort zone, at least initially. Most volunteer report they adjusted fairly quickly to these conditions.

Guest Family
Food & Beverages

You will eat the same local food as the family (though the homestay parents know what foreigners typically enjoy). Homestays can cater to the special dietary requirements of some volunteers, so please include this in your application form. You will also be provided with filtered water to drink, as it would be best for travellers to be cautious and not drink tap water.

You will be provided with two meals a day (breakfast and dinner) by your homestay. All meals will be served with rice and typically include fish, chicken or pork. 

Local café’s and restaurants can also be found all over the city, with most meals costing from around 2 USD to 6 USD. Bottled water is also available in most food establishments and in grocery stores.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Costs (Prices in USD)
4 weeks (min. stay)
$960.00
5 weeks
$1,040.00
6 weeks
$1,120.00
7 weeks
$1,200.00
9 weeks
$1,360.00
11 weeks
$1,520.00
24 weeks (max. stay)
$2,560.00
Average fees
$173.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Tacloban City/Philippines between 4 weeks and 24 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Volunteer for the Visayans will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Volunteer for the Visayans during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Get ready to volunteer in Philippines

Check out first

Visa Regulations
Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for Philippines. Please check the visa regulations for Philippines.
Travel Seasons
Find out the best time to volunteer in Philippines and receive information on weather and climatic conditions.
Living Costs
Living costs vary with each destination. We give an overview of what you should plan as an estimated budget to volunteer in Philippines.
Budgeting
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Philippines.

What's next?

Airport
The nearest airport is Ninoy Aquino International (MNL) in Manila. We assist you to find cheap flights to Philippines.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Philippines provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccine Checker
If you are intending to volunteer in Philippines you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Philippines.
Free-time
What can you do in leisure-time in Philippines while you are not working at your volunteer opportunity?
Lot 63, Cluster 2, Barangay 64, Bliss, Sagkahan, 6500 Tacloban City, Philippines zoom="6"

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