Our goal is to provide experiential learning opportunities and cultural expansion for pharmacy or pre-pharmacy students while those in our partner communities benefit from a physical exam and treatment from a licensed medical professional.

About Pharmacy Programs

In addition to providing pharmacy services, ISL’s pharmacy teams provide a variety of general medicine and public health services in developing communities. From urban centers to small towns and villages in remote areas, our teams work in various settings to provide field clinics in which patient needs are assessed, acute conditions are treated, and medications are prescribed.

Regardless of background, volunteers are able to receive an invaluable opportunity to not only observe doctors and pharmacists in action, but to actively assist with important aspects of health care and pharmacy under careful supervision.

Because we include pharmacy stations in all of our field clinics, ISL global health teams are also a good fit for pharmacy and pre-pharmacy students.

Who is Right for Pharmacy Teams

ISL’s Pharmacy teams are ideal for pharmacists and pharmacy techs, and medical, pharmacy, and PA students. Pre-health and pre-pharmacy students welcome!

What to Expect

Upon arrival in-country, you will be met at the airport by ISL staff. Your team’s first day will be busy with orientation and intensive training seminars on taking vitals, basic triage, learning medical terminology (Spanish or Swahili), and pharmacology; then the community work begins!

On an ISL pharmacy team, you will work in one of our partner communities in the following ways:

  • Visit homes to assess the needs for health care
  • Evaluate living conditions making connections between lifestyle and health issues
  • Bring/distribute educational materials

You will invite those in need of medical care to a field clinic staffed by local, licensed medical professionals. At the clinic, you will rotate through stations taking turns doing the following:

  • Conducting patient interviews/intake
  • Observing the physician (diagnosis and treatment)
  • Set up and participate in pharmacy stations
  • Play with the community children!

Be aware: there will be virtually NO down-time during your ISL program. This is an immersive, intensive experience loaded with service activities and cultural exploration!

In the evenings, you will participate in seminars on the procurement, processing, and applications of natural medicines, prevention and treatment of diseases common to the area and practice techniques such as suturing and administering injections.

There will also be designated time for group reflection – time to discuss and express what you’ve experienced in your day’s community work, either formally or informally.

Your team will eat most dinners out in order to relax and experience the local culture and cuisine. You will learn a few traditional dances and explore some important historical/cultural sites.

Recreational opportunities vary by location, but you will have opportunities like: shopping for local crafts and exploring geographic treasures such as beaches, volcanoes, rainforests, or caves. Traverse ruins, tour city centers, or trek through coffee plantations, and have time for other  exciting activities such as ziplining, snorkeling, or safari!

Volunteer Involvement

Activities and special projects for pharmacy volunteers may include:

  • Counseling with a prescriber on proper selection of medications
  • Filing and compounding of prescriptions
  • Dispensing of medications and compounding of dosage forms
  • Management of inventory and pharmacy supplies and organization of pharmacy workflow
  • Counseling patients on medications, their proper use
  • Counseling patients on disease prevention and disease outcomes
  • Performing basic patient physical assessments
  • Performing health care screenings (e.g., blood glucose, blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol)
  • Educating patients on acute and chronic disease conditions (e.g., heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, heartburn, immunization, nutrition, hydration, adverse effects of medications, drug interactions, pain, infections)
  • Promoting wellness & disease prevention
  • Teaching ISL teams about medications (e.g., indications, pharmacology, adverse effects)

Pharmacy students are a valuable asset to any ISL health team including Hike for Humanity.

Safety and Respect

Respect of our patients

Patient consent is, of course, an essential pre-requisite for any level of volunteer participation.  All patients sign a consent form to be seen by a doctor with students observing – we have their complicit consent to treat prior to their intake and examination.

Our patients are protected from exploitation – we are discreet and respectful. We do NOT under any circumstances take photo of any procedure during a patient’s visit. Furthermore, patient rights must be respected at all times; Patients have the right to refuse treatment.

ISL prohibits discrimination on the basis of color, national origin, disability, sex, gender identity, religion or any other factor.

Volunteer Safety

For the sake of security, ISL volunteers remain together as a team from arrival to departure, and are accompanied by ISL staff at all times.

The safety of our volunteers is our number one priority. ISL has offices in all of the countries that we serve. That means wherever you go, rest assured, we’re there too. All ISL regional staff members are thoroughly screened to ensure the safety of your team’s local interactions and we continuously monitor and address all emerging health and safety issues in each of the countries we operate.

Specific precautions taken by ISL

  • ISL teams avoid large, crowded areas like sporting events whenever possible
  • We continuously monitor local media and information sources in each of our countries through our on-site staff, and take appropriate actions to avoid areas of concern
  • Our on-site staff provide feedback on the local situation in each community we work, and if recommendations are made to change itineraries or programming, we do so immediately
  • Our management team relies on the advice of a number of organizations including the U.S. State Department, the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, as well as an international safety and security organization. If conditions exist that may hinder our ability to provide a safe program, we will alter the itinerary and redirect the program to safer regions or provide other alternatives.

What To Bring

You will need:

  • Stethoscope
  • Blood pressure cuff
  • Otoscope
  • Scrubs
  • Donations of medications
  • Medical supplies (optional), and
  • Refillable water bottle (i.e. Nalgene bottle)
  • Funds sufficient to cover one meal per day, recreation, incidentals, souvenirs and departure tax (where applicable).
  • An open-mind
  • A sense of adventure
  • A heart for service

What ISL Provides

  • 24-hour accompaniment by professional, bilingual staff
  • Airport pickup/drop off
  • All ground transportation
  • All lodging
  • Two meals per day
  • Drinking water
  • Instruction by licensed medical professionals
  • Medications and supplies
  • Quality experiential learning
  • A meaningful glimpse into another culture
  • An unforgettable adventure

ISL also provides references of drugs available in the host country, a list of abbreviations used on medication orders, and medications and supplies and devices used in dispensing medications.