Mission to Heal is always looking for enthusiastic individuals to travel with us on medical missions. Because we are a non-profit organization, volunteers are responsible for their transportation to and from the host country, room and board expenses, food expenses, and any additional in-country transportation.




M2H will recommend a suitable mission travel agent or volunteers can work with their own agent. Arrangements and payments for flights to and from the host country can be made directly to the travel agent or through M2H. It’s important that Mission to Heal team members travel to the host country as a team, so it is advisable to have any individual connecting flights join up with the Mission Flight. Please be aware that often the less expensive seats on overseas flights sell out as early as two months in advance. Volunteer early and purchase flights as soon as acceptance into a mission has been communicated.


Each volunteer is limited to one carry-on bag. Each volunteer is also expected to check two large M2H duffle bags filled with donated medical supplies and equipment. Bringing additional bags is discouraged due to space and weight limitations on chartered flights in small aircraft within many host countries.


Because volunteers may only have one carry-on, it is important to choose wardrobe and personal items carefully. A suggested equipment list is available here. [link to Equipment List] Mission to Heal will send volunteers additional information on customs of the host country, suggested reading, what to expect in terms of living arrangements, etc.


Volunteers should contact their local health department for advice on the inoculations, immunizations, and prophylactic medications recommended for work in the host country. Dr. Geelhoed can provide medical advice here too.


Visa requirements vary widely from country to country. Some countries do not even require a visa (example: Philippines). In other countries visas can be obtained upon entry (example: Morocco). Still other countries require that guests obtain a visa before travel or be denied entry (example: South Sudan). In these latter instances a letter of invitation is required to obtain a visa. M2H will help volunteers obtain visas, but in all cases the volunteer is responsible for the cost of a visa.


Applicants must submit a $100 deposit in order to be considered for a mission. If an applicant is accepted, the deposit is applied to the mission’s expenses. If the applicant is denied acceptance or withdraws from the proposed mission, the deposit is considered a donation to Mission to Heal (unless it is applied to a later application).


Mission to Heal does not have sufficient operating funds to allow a volunteer to participate without covering his or her expenses. Past volunteers have raised the necessary funds through family, friends, churches, schools, and other agencies. Please let M2H know if raising enough funds is difficult.


Not mentioned in the list below are personal effects volunteers may consider bringing along, including toiletries, cameras, iPods, tablets, journals, etc. Please note that many items that are normally considered necessities – including electric hair dryers – are useless in a locale devoid of electricity. Also bear in mind all clothing and personal effects must fit into one carry-on bag.


Malaria is a fact of life in much of the world. Volunteers must bring some type of malaria prophylaxis. Look here [link to http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/travelers/drugs.html] for the various anti-malarials available and talk to a doctor about an appropriate prescription. Note that Malarone is very expensive ($7 per tablet) and is probably only needed in regions with falciparum malaria. Nigeria does not fall into this category.


Volunteers should check with their local health department concerning required or suggested immunizations.


Many countries in Africa (example: Nigeria) require a Yellow Fever Card. Some volunteers have been involuntarily given a Yellow Fever inoculation by local health care providers at the border.


Insect repellent is available in several varieties at local camping and outdoor retailers. Repellents with permethrin can be applied to clothing to provide additional protection. A mosquito net is recommended for peaceful sleeping at night.


Consider bringing along a headlamp-style flashlight. Volunteers will learn the rudiments of surgery and not all places have adequate lighting. Headlamps are also handy when treating patients, changing dressing in a poorly lit area, etc. Be sure to choose an LED flashlight. They offer superior light at a fraction of the battery use.


Volunteers can bring plenty of alkaline batteries, but consider rechargeable batteries. Goal Zero (link to www.goalzero.com) sells a variety of outstanding products.


Be aware that in Africa (depending on the country) electrical outlets are either round pins or 3-pronged blades. A travel store can provide the necessary adapters. Volunteers can probably do quite well without a solar charger, but in some areas it is a necessity.


Do not expect to be housed in a motel with private rooms and individual beds. Consider bringing a thin, inflatable sleeping pad and a simple covering (light blanket or sheet). A sleeping bag liner from any sporting goods store works well and can be stuffed into an incredibly small sack. Consider an inflatable pillow or a stuff sack that can be filled with clothing to make a serviceable pillow.


Meals on a mission trip can be irregular. Instant oatmeal in individual packs (or even a bulk amount in a plastic bag), energy bars, and homemade gorp are good options. A camp bowl (perhaps a collapsible one) and spoon (or spork) don’t take up much room and are often handy tools.


In some areas water purification is an absolute must. There are several ways to go about securing safe drinking water. There are many water filtration and purification methods available at a typical camping and outdoors store.


Volunteers don’t need a lot. Consider bringing two changes of clothing and three pairs of undergarments to cover days where washing clothing is not an option. Be sure to bring laundry detergent in a plastic bag. Please note that in some African countries an exposed, naked, female leg is considered indecent and is a sign of a wanton woman. Wearing shorts gives the wrong impression of a Mission to Heal trip. For formal occasions, dresses are appropriate for women and long pants are appropriate for men. Dresses should reach below the knee. At work scrub suits are acceptable. Visit a scrub suit outlet to pick up a couple to bring with.

  • Cash for incidentals
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Microfiber camp towel
  • Hand sanitizer
  • First aid items
  • Frisbee (for recreational use)
  • Bubbles (kids love them!)
  • Toilet paper