Frequently Asked Questions
MedLend is supported over 75% by public donations, grants, and gifts-in-kind. Donations help offset the costs of each mission, an average of $40,000. Costs include:
- medical equipment and supplies that range in price from $3,000–$45,000
- transportation of equipment and supplies (volunteers pay their own way to the destination)
- food and lodging for volunteers while on the mission
Literally 92% of each donation goes directly to purchasing equipment, supplies, and medication. A small percent goes to proving limited scholarships for student volunteers. The rest goes to our administrative fees, which are kept minimal by sharing resources, such as staff members and office space, with the founder's private practice.
Teams of health care professionals travel around the globe to give free medical services to people living without access to it because of economic and/or infrastructural limitations. MedLend specifically offers surgeries as well as clinic examinations and medications.
No. MedLend missions are secular, created to help those in need of medical care. MedLend is not affiliated with any religious organization. However, we do accept donations and volunteers from all walks of life. Also, our overseas patients often tell us that our services are, to them, a gift from God or an answer to their prayers. MedLend makes no comment on the validity of these statements.
The Philippines, Tonga, Guatemala, India, Peru, and Uganda
Possibly. That depends. Would you be willing to volunteer as a Program Director? You would have to act as a main contact and an organizer, helping us find a hospital near your town or village we could work with, a place for volunteers to stay, as well as transportation between volunteer lodging and the hospital on a daily basis during the mission. If you are up for the challenge, please contact us.
Patient safety is always our main concern. Though we have done "M.A.S.H. style" tented missions in the past or missions in repurposed churches, bombed-out hospitals, and other unusual sites, working hospitals are really the most appropriate place to perform surgery. We try to find hospitals that have a need—perhaps, they are hoping for new laparoscopic equipment or need updated training with new techniques or technologies. It has to be a give-and-take situation. They loan us operating rooms to work in, we give them some new supplies, equipment, or specialized training experience.
We carry it—by hand. 14–26 extra pieces of very large luggage filled with medical machines, equipment, medications, and supplies go on the planes, in vans, or on boats with volunteers... Shipping is not only expensive; it can also be unreliable or even unavailable in the areas to which we travel. Often, it leaves MedLend more vulnerable to loss, theft, or equipment breakdown.
*Due to currently rising costs of taking extra luggage on airplanes, MedLend desperately needs your help now more than ever. Luggage costs can add thousands of dollars to our mission travel budgets, which are already stretched as tightly as possible by medical equipment and supplies. If you believe that the MedLend mission to provide health care to those in need around the world is a good one, please donate today to help make missions possible. Thank you.
There are as many answers to this question as there are other groups of international medical care providers. One difference is that we keep team size small so we stay organized and streamlined.
Another is that we do surgeries. Many other similar groups simply do examination clinics, passing out medications, or treating small wounds.
Also, MedLend specifically stays out of active war zones. Though there are always risks of terrorist attacks in any country we visit, we do our best to stay away from high-risk danger areas to keep our volunteers as safe as possible. After all, we want to help people, and without the luxury of specialized security teams or training, taking volunteers to dangerous areas would be a naive choice that may risk hurting them. We may wear "Pollyanna glasses" and want to make the world a better place, but we understand the necessity to do it in a safe way.
To go on an international medical mission, you must be at least 18, but there are plenty of volunteer opportunities you can help with otherwise, no matter how old you are. Check out our volunteer page for more information.
- Plan a fundraiser
- Ask your local hospitals and health care facilities to donate equipment and supplies. See our wish list for more details.
- Tell 12 friends about MedLend. Ask them to donate. Every little bit helps. A $20 donation can provide gloves for all our volunteers, as well as sponges and ID bracelets for over 100 patients.
- Show or tell how inspired you have been by our work. Write an article for our biannual newsletter or create a piece of artwork we can include in the next issue.
- Get on our mailing list by sending us your contact information: name, phone, address, and e-mail. We promise you will not be tormented by an onslaught of solicitations. In fact, all you will receive after confirmation is our biannual newsletter and e-vites to fundraising events. It's a fun and educational way to help those who cannot help themselves.