Travel and Conduct
Travel info and Cultural Conduct
Reserve your spot
After acceptance, to hold your spot in the training program, pay your internship fees in full immediately. The full payment is due at the time you are accepted; we cannot hold a spot for you without payment. Fees must also be paid in full before you book your airline travel. If you cancel for any reason other than a documented medical emergency or death in your immediate family, only half of your fees paid will be refunded. If you cancel within 48 hours of the start date or after the date you were to begin, there will be no refund.
Passport: Get a passport if you do not already have one that is good for at least 6 months past your planned travel time, you can get your first passport or renew your old one by going to a post office or going on line here
Immunizations: Get immunized if you are not already current on Hep A and B, and any other vaccinations you may want to get up to date on. You will want to be sure you are up to date on tetanus, which is deadly to adults in our area. To learn more go to the CDC website here
Airline: Purchase a ticket to fly into Manila, Philippines. Many airlines fly into Manila, you can ask your travel agent, or use our Mercy In Action travel agent: Barbara Lambert at Bon Voyage Travel - Phone: 800-800-8511 - E-mail: email@example.com
Important note: You should ARRIVE into Manila International Airport by at least the day BEFORE the training begins. Be aware of the International Dateline when booking. Travel is often delayed for unforseen reasons, so you may even want to give yourself 2 days cushion, so you don't miss anything. If you do miss the pick up time in Manila, you will be responsible for your own taxi ride out to Subic Bay (costs equivalant of $100-$130 USD)
Your plane should DEPART from Manila International Airport the day AFTER the training ends.
You will be expected to buy a round-trip ticket to Manila, Philippines, and an overnight stay in Manila coming and going (hotel costs around $50 per night and includes the airport shuttle.)
Hotel: Make reservations for the Kabayan Hotel in Pasay, Manila on your arrival date; we will meet your group early the morning of the first day of the course you are attending. Below is the link for the Kabayan Hotel, a hotel we use near the airport that meets guests at the terminal and has a free shuttle to the hotel. A uniformed shuttle driver will meet your plane and take you to the hotel, where you can check in and get a good nights rest to get over jet lag. Someone from our team will meet you at the hotel the following day around noon to bring you back to Olongapo. You can make your reservation online by clicking here.
Packing: Pack light, you must be able to carry all your own luggage without assistance. The only exception is if you bring donated medical supplies with you, we will gladly pay for a porter to help you. (see below). All the clothes you need should fit in a back-back. Bring a few sets of tee shirts and shorts, or tank tops and skirts, and a swim suit. Pack a light towel, and bring a pillow on the plane with you. Throw in some mosquito spray and sunscreen, and any prescription medicines you are taking... then just slip into a pair of sandals,grab one sweater or light jacket for on the plane, and you should be set!
Mercy Midwives Birthing Home
Our free maternity clinic in the Philippines is located on the outskirts of Olongapo City, and Subic Bay Freeport Zone. It is about a 3-4 hour drive north of the capital city of Manila.
Please read the following books before you arrive, and write a brief 500 word essay for each book on how the affected you, and how you feel it applies to your international training with Mercy In Action. Essays can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
What Mercy In Action is doing in the fight against Oppression and Racism within Midwifery in Developing Countries
In attempting to be a model clinic, with staff and advisers that are multi-national--Asian, African-America/Asian, Hispanic, and White--we have learned many lessons and adjusted too many times to count, in order to address the many concerns involved in cross cultural health care planning, provision and education. According to WHO the world is short at least 300,000 midwives, so one of our goals is to pass on our model so that those who desire to learn from our excellent outcomes can do so, hoping they will contribute to better outcomes in maternity care all over the world. Toward this end, Mercy In Action has put the following policies in place to address cultural competency:
- Foreigners who come to one of our trainings in the Philippines are not allowed to give direct patient care, whether a student midwife or CPM, CNM, or MD, they observe or assist the care given by Filipina Licensed Midwives and Nurses.
- All visitors and interns are required to read cultural books before coming for training; at a minimum they must read: 1) Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, 2) CultureShock! Philippines: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette, & 3) Birth Models That Work
- All participants in our international training are given the Mercy In Action Cultural Competency Course entitled "Cultural Competency and Respect in the Provision of Maternity Care".
- All visitors or training participants are closely supervised and monitored, to try to make sure that they are respectful and appropriate in all dealings with the national staff and patients. Foreigners are required to follow the same rules of HIPPA as they would in America, and are asked not to not post anything about our patients on the internet or to blogs or social media sites, and asked not to take pictures of the local people until after they know the person and even then, to ask permission.
- We add value to the local hospitals and government clinics by giving donations of supplies, and at times buying them new items they don't have, such as Doppler’s, resuscitation equipment, or most recently, we donated several pairs of Anti-shock garments (NASG) , along with training in how to apply them to treat shock. Our goal is to reduce all maternal and neonatal deaths in our region. We have taken the White Ribbon Alliance "Respectful Maternity Care" video and PowerPoint presentation and by invitation, taught it at large hospitals to the medical staff . We teach the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative 10 Steps to Optimal Maternity care all around the country, and we are designated as an MBNet site with IMBCO. This is incredibly significant, as the first 6 steps direct respectful care to keep birth normal, and the next few steps direct respect in demanding that our site is up to date on culturally and geographically appropriate response to the diseases of deprivation, such as HIV/AIDS, Tetanus, Hep B, TB, Malaria, worms, etc., as well as Best Practices in dealing with hemorrhage, eclampsia, infection, and obstructed labor--in a word, the things that kill women.
- We hold classes regularly for national staff midwives and nurses and visiting student midwives or CPMs, CNMs, or MDs. We all take turns teaching topics so that interns see modeled the respect we have for the national staff, even as we are working to bring up the education and experience of the local birthing professionals. We train and give scholarships to local indigenous women in midwifery, and update skills for local health professionals.
- We hold After-Action-Reviews with staff and students after clinical experiences to debrief what we did right, what we did wrong, and what we could do better next time. This models humility and our value on learning and growing, and letting the patient direct our behavior. In discussing a complication, we all debrief to constantly bring up our standard of care and our quick and appropriate response in a crisis situation. We take the stance of a learner, even our most experienced midwives. This helps everyone see where they could be more culturally appropriate next time they are with a patient, or where they could learn to be more humble.
"I want to acknowledge and thank the brave and wise Women of Colors who have been my friends, mentors and councilors this past few years as I found my way to a place where I realized I could work to affect change in the shameful disparities in American birth outcomes, even as I lived and worked as an expatriate midwife in Asia; I want to especially thank CPMs Michele Peixinho, Claudia Booker, and Jennie Joseph. Thank you for being true friends and speaking truth to me. You have all helped me have endless "aha" moments and encouraged me greatly as we launched the Mercy In Action scholarships and the Scholarship Solution and Grand Challenge."
~ Vicki Penwell, LM, CPM, Masters in Midwifery, Masters in Inter-Cultural Studies
Mercy In Action does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, or religion when accepting training applicants.
Mercy In Action is a Christian faith-based NGO, and here in the Philippines, it is usual for our midwives to pray with the patients. Most of this country is Catholic (we work with tribal and Muslim families as well.)
Donations & Medical Supplies
Many of you ask about bringing medical donations in your luggage to bless the women and children Mercy In Action serves. We would love this! The items we need most are:
Disposable gloves, all sizes, both sterile and non-sterile
3 cc syringes with needles (needles 1 to 1 1/2 inch)
1cc syringes with needles ( needles 1/2 to 5/8 inch)
IV angiocath needles size 18
Disposable Chux pads
Maxi menstrual pads
White twin bed size fitted and flat sheets
Blood pressure cuffs
Glucometer and strips
Pulse Oximeter for newborns, handheld
Thank you in advance!