Volunteering abroad can be a great chance to contribute to the advancement of global oral health. However, did you know that service trips could potentially do more harm than good? Before you pack your bags, make sure that you are prepared to volunteer responsibly. Set yourself up to be an ethical advocate of global health by reviewing these important topics.
During spring break 2018, I traveled to Quito, Ecuador with my classmates and local dentists. I had never gone on a mission trip before, so I tried to approach everything with an open mind and enthusiasm. It was one of the best decisions of my life, and I can’t wait to go back next year. Since dental schools are increasing the availability of international service trips, here are a few things to keep in mind.
For most of us, mosquitoes are an annoying summer pest. But in other countries, mosquitoes can carry diseases such as dengue, chikungunya or malaria. Best case scenario, you’ll win some general itchiness. Fortunately, for us living here in the United States, our minds rest easy knowing that the risks of catching any mosquito-borne disease are slim. First-world luxuries such as air conditioning and screened windows can prevent mosquito infestations. Most U.S. streets lack standing pools of water, the beloved nests of mosquito larvae, and when the threat of being bitten is imminent, we liberally spray plumes of OFF! mosquito repellent.
Yet, recently, our mosquito concerns have amplified. On May 31, 2016, a child was born in a New Jersey hospital with Zika virus-related microcephaly.