BOLIVIA - River Jungles Region and Communities

May 2 - May 15, 2019


The quality of health care and delivery in Bolivia is consider to be poor and struggling. According to the World Health Organization, Bolivia ranked 126th out of 190 countries for quality of healthcare.

Those who live in the rural areas of the country are deprived of sufficient medical services as well as proper sanitation. This makes them vulnerable diseases like Chagas disease and malaria. According to statistics, only 20% of the Bolivian rural population have access to safe water and sanitation. Malnutrition in Bolivia is also a common health issue, with 23% of the population believed to be afflicted by it. Several of the small communities in Bolivia lack health centers, and patients who seek medical help often die during long rides to get to the closest health center.

Project Helping Hands started working in Bolivia in 1996, sending teams to different regions in the country. One of the regions PHH works in is the communities of the Amazon Rainforest and the Northern Region of Bolivia. Here the public health system is extremely limited making life difficult. Access to basic health care is almost nonexistent due to  isolated  geographic areas.

Project Helping Hands targets vulnerable and extremely poor communities by providing intervention and opportunities for sustainable development. Our programs include primary health care, dental care, preventive health care and education

PHH has brought medical volunteers to provide health care and education to the rural areas of Bolivia. Please volunteer and join our trip or donate to our team donation page to support our work in Bolivia

Click here to learn more about the Bolivia Health System (WHO) 

Team Leadership

Team Leader: Trisha McKeon

Has been co-leading the Bolivia trip in 2017. Her expertise as a Nurse Practitioner and knowledge in the area is unmatched. She is also fresh off returning a successful team from Kenya in October 2018 as a medical director. Trish will continue sustainability in the area by focusing not only on basic healthcare but also by providing education heath care moving towards better self sustaining practices. 

If you have any questions about this team, please feel free to contact Trisha.


In-Country Host: Eduardo Salazar

Trip Details

The team will depart mainland on May 2nd arriving at El Alto Airport the next day.   Once the trip is finalized the team will leave La Paz on May 15th arriving home the same day.

The team will provide Health Care Clinics at community centers (villages/communities) around the vicinity of the amazon river and Northern regions of Bolivia travelling by road and canoes along the river. The team will work their way down the river from village to village providing health care to village residents. We attempt to involve local medical providers when possible.  We also organize an educational seminar for our volunteers or at a hospital site for regional medical providers. If possible we will take a break in the middle of the mission to travel to visit some natural sightseeing

After the trip the team will have the opportunity to participate on an optional activity into the City of Cusco, Peru and the Ruins of Machu Picchu. Please visit in the website the Bolivia trip extension for more information.

Trip Logistics

Amount of in-country travel:  This team will spend a fair amount of time on unimproved roads and primarily in dugout log/plank riverboats traveling from village to village.

Sleeping arrangements:  Accommodations will vary throughout this trip ranging from sleeping in a hostel/schools to sleeping on the floor in sleeping bags in tents (self provided) on a river bar or in a jungle village.

Running water/electricity:  Will vary depending on the community.  Some locations will have limited power and it will be necessary to carry and/or treat all team drinking water. There may be at times several days where you will not have access to showers.  There is always the option of bathing in the river or a tributary stream.

Physical Requirements:  Team members need to be in good physical condition during the travel days. They will be exposed to a high altitude trip upon arrival while the te team is in La Paz for one day. Volunteers are expected to help with carrying of supplies and set up clinics each day during the river boat trip.

Climate:  Most of the trip team members will be exposed to dry warm weather during the day.  Daytime temperatures are mild in the 80's.

Altitude: You will only be in high altitude locations on the first and last day of this trip.  The majority of time you will be at an elevation of around 2,500 f.

Skill Requirements

The primary focus for this team is to provide general health care and health education services. We seek licensed health care professionals including but not limited to the following!

  • Physicians
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Physician Assistants
  • Dentists
  • Dental Hygienists
  • Dental Assistants
  • RN's
  • EMS Personnel
  • Physical Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists

We also welcome students, translators and non-medical volunteers to participate in our deployment.

Team Size:  15 (Team status)

Application Due Date: February 10, 2019

All teams require a minimum donation. Please click here for full financial and donation information as well as pictures taken on past teams 

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