Items that need immediate attention
- Passport: Be sure that your passport does not expire before or within sixmonths of the trip. In your application, you will need to supply your name as it appears on your passport, and your passport number.
- Application and Release of Liability Waiver: You will be instructed in how to do this online, or you can download these forms from this site.
- Immunizations: No shots are required to travel to Guatemala, however, Common Hope recommends: up-to-date MMR, DPT, varicella, polio, yearly flu, tetanus and Hepatitis A and B vaccinations. The Hepatitis A vaccination is a 2-shot series, the first of which should be given 4-6 weeks before departure for maximum immunization. The second shot is given 6 months after the first shot (but not required before your trip.) Common Hope recommends that individuals contact their primary health physician, travel clinic, or Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for more information.
- ZIKA: The CDC has issued a level 2 travel notice (April, 2017) to people traveling to Central America where ZIKA transmission is ongoing. A Level 2 notice advises that all traveling to Central America should practice enhanced precautions. Because ZIKA is spread by mosquitos, the CDC recommends that travelers protect themselves from mosquito bites. The CDC recommends no travel to Guatemala if you are pregnant, plan to be pregnant, or have a partner who is pregnant or plans to be. For more information, click here for the CDC website.
- Eat and drink safely: Unclean food and water can cause travelers’ diarrhea and other diseases, so reduce your risk by sticking to safe food and water. Go to the CDC website for more http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/zika-virus-guatemala.
- Medical travel insurance: We recommend that all volunteers get extra insurance that would cover emergency medical care and evacuation back to the States. This should cost less than $100 for a week, and is available from a number of companies on-line.
- Payment: Volunteers are responsible for their travel expenses including air fare, hotel, and meals. In addition, we ask for a donation to help to cover patient and hospital fees, cost of medical and surgical supplies, and van transportation to/from the airport. Physician donation: $250, all other volunteers: $100 . We welcome any additional contribution you may wish to make. Please see the information about Surgery Sponsorship. It is a great way to involve family, friends, and places of worship. Please make checks out to “Guatemala Surgery/Common Hope” and send to Susan Graber, 5039 Bryant Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55419.
Hermano Pedro Hospital
Our surgery teams work primarily at Hospital Hermano Pedro. Located in the heart of Antigua, this multi-service facility provides the following:
- Dental clinic
- Physical therapy center
- Nutrition nursery for high risk infants
- Medical clinic
- Surgical unit with four operating rooms, pre-op and recovery rooms
- 3 inpatient wards
Hermano Pedro Hospital has a rich history. It was founded by Hermano (Brother) Pedro Betancourt, a Franciscan priest, in the early 1600s. Hermano Pedro became known for picking up the sick and abandoned in the streets and carrying them to his hospital in his arms. He often roamed the streets ringing a bell asking for donations to feed and clothe those in his care. He wore the rags and tattered clothing of those that he served. Over hundreds of years earthquakes destroyed the original structures of the hospital. After the major earthquake of 1976, the current hospital was built with seismic reinforcement. It continues in the Franciscan tradition of taking in and helping those who need care.
The hospital relies on individual donations and benefits greatly from volunteer medical teams like ours that help staff the surgical facility throughout the year.