How we work

Our volunteers

Volunteers in Kansas City acquire, pick up, sort, and pack donated supplies and equipment from various Kansas City hospitals and medical centers. They also raise money and donations from friends and relatives. Our volunteers are both lay and medical personnel who give their time freely in order to help MACLA Inc. to function well.

The medical teams during a mission

MACLA Inc. medical teams consist of operating room and recovery nurses, anesthetists, anesthesiologists, plastic surgeons, pediatricians and family physicians, physical and occupational therapists, and lay volunteers. After typical frantic travel, multiple connections, and obligatory customs searches, the teams stay at inexpensive hotels near the hospitals.

Immediately after arrival, surgeons evaluate patients and schedule them for surgery. The rest of the team unpacks and sets up the operating room, schedules the patients, and generally brings order to chaos.

The clinics consist of hundreds of patients packed into large auditoriums, and many more stand outside queued up for evaluation and care.

The surgical arena usually consists of three stark operating rooms with only tables and illumination. MACLA Inc. provides all equipment, supplies, and medicines. Two cases per room are performed simultaneously. The operating rooms are always crowded and noisy.

After a short stay in a small, bare, makeshift recovery room, the patient returns to crowded wards where family members assist nurses with patient care. Half of the patients are discharged the day of surgery, the rest leave within 48 hours.

The surgical teams perform 20 to 30 cases daily.

The Peace Corps

A major part of the team’s effort depends on the Peace Corps volunteers who identify the patients, transport them to the hospital, and act as interpreters for the medical teams. They participate in the patients’ hospital care and provide personal continuity and trust for the patients and their families. Many of the volunteers have stated that this medical mission is one of the most important works in which they have participated during their two-year tenure.

Since it was founded by the Kennedy administration in 1961, the Peace Corps has established itself as a respected organization in Latin-American countries, especially the Dominican Republic. Volunteers provide resources for local improvements such as wells, sanitation, reforestation, water procurement, nutrition, and some basic medical care. The Peace Corps is the best foreign aid program that we have. With democracy and freedom breaking out around the globe, the demand for Peace Corps volunteers is soaring.

Associations with universities

Over the years, we have been associated with more than six medical schools in the Dominican Republic and Bolivia, including: