Country: Nicaragua, Peru

Length of Trip: 1 Week

Trips per Year to Latin America: 2

Cost: Not available

Urban/Rural: Rural

Type of Volunteer: Physician/mid-level provider, Chiropractor/Physiotherapist, Healthcare-related trainee

Type of Organization: Secular NGO

Type of Clinic: Mobile or Informal Clinic, Standing Clinic


FNEI collaborates with rural communities in Nicaragua and Peru along with medical professionals and students to provide health education, medical resources, and access to basic health care.

The Problem

43% of Nicaraguans live in rural areas where access to healthcare and wellness resources is extremely limited. 22.6% of children living in rural areas suffer from chronic malnutrition while acute respiratory infections, diarrhea and vector-borne diseases are prevalent. 55% of women living in rural Nicaragua give birth at home without any medical assistance. With less than 1 doctor per 1,000 people, accessing quality health care is next to impossible.

How It Works

FNEI works with communities to identify specific healthcare related needs. Once those needs are identified, we work to meet those needs utilizing available resources. These include the facilitation of medically-oriented missions that provide direct access, medical equipment and medications in addition to fundraising for specific needs or resources. FNEI also supports a clinic in Chacraseca staffed by a local physician.

In Peru, FNEI facilitates a mobile medical clinic that runs every June and July in the Cuzco region. A combination of medical students, resident and attending physicians travel throughout the area offering primary care, pediatric, and some specialty services. A cataract surgical component has also been incorporated into the mission. Physical therapy, eye care, and patient education are also included. A strong relationship with the Peruvian American Medical Society allows for patients presenting with emergent health needs to be referred to a local hospital in Cuzco.

Lastly, public health volunteers work with the communities to identify opportunities to improve overall health and wellness. Ensuring access to potable water and hygiene education are the primary focuses.

The Impact

With over 400 patients seen each year, these efforts have both expanded and improved access to basic healthcare in rural Nicaragua and Peru. Additional FNEI initiatives such as potable water efforts and the housing program have also had a direct impact on the health of families and communities served.

Organizational Base: Boston, Massachussets

Other Programs: Health education sessions, scholarships, sustainable garden project, infrastructure and housing, bridge building, water projects