The Vine Trust is an international volunteering charity which seeks to enable volunteers to make a real and significant difference to some of the poorest communities in the world. The Trust runs the Amazon Hope Medical and Dental Programme which uses medical ship expeditions to deliver ‘floating healthcare’ to remote communities along tributaries of the Amazon River. All the locations visited are inaccessible by road and this is the only opportunity people living here have to be seen by a medical team. The Vine Trust medical teams consist of volunteer doctors, dentists, nurses and students from the UK and abroad who join the Peruvian staff on board. Applications are through the Vine Trust in the UK.
The programme has been running since 2002 and has now established itself amongst many of the villages and tribes along the Amazon. The Amazon Hope ship provides essential care to remote communities and the boats are universally welcomed wherever they dock. The programme serves over 100,000 people annually and this number is expected to increase in the coming years.
Each ship has on-board treatment rooms, an operating theatre, dental surgery and pharmacy with a large deck that supports a “waiting and documentation area”. The ship delivers a primary healthcare service that is seen as vital in these areas to maintain a good standard of health among the local population. Those who use the service often have little or no access to basic healthcare which results in high mortality and morbidity that often includes easily treatable diseases.
The Vine Trust does not offer formal electives as they are usually described but does offer a more general two or four week ‘medical experience’, providing the chance to serve as part of the medical team on Amazon Hope in providing primary healthcare clinics to the tribal communities on the Amazon.
To find out more about medical expeditions and applying, please visit the webpage here: http://www.vinetrust.org/volunteer/Amazon-Hope
Note: The Vine Trust also runs the Jubilee Hope Medical and Dental Programme which operates on Lake Victoria, Tanzania. For more information, visit: http://www.vinetrust.org/volunteer/Jubilee-Hope
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