Planning Your Trip

Maps – Where in the world is…

Country Information and Travel Advisories

Medical Supplies


First Aid Kit & Health Issues

Valuable Clinical Supplies
If you want to avoid hassles at customs, print up an official looking inventory of all the medical supplies you are bringing and present it with aplomb when accosted at the entry point to the country of your destination.

  • bandages (telfa, gauze, bandaids)
  • TAPE*, scissors,
  • stockings for leg/arm bandages,
  • orthotics,
  • tweezers or forceps,
  • sterile scalpel blades with handles,
  • alcohol pads (many),
  • needles, syringes – DO NOT REUSE
  • topical anesthetics,
  • pens, paper, office supplies,
  • urine dipsticks,
  • glucose chem strips,
  • water tight baggies for distributing meds,
  • surgilube packets,
  • glass thermometers,
  • gloves (as many as you can carry, bring some sterile gloves for procedures),
  • finger lacets, vital to test for malaria, hemoglobin, glucose, depending on what your clinic does.

Some personal supplies that will be of use to you as well as the clinic

  • ear wax currettes
  • syringe (50cc) with butterfly tubing for ‘ear’-rigation
  • disposable ear speculums and otoscope
  • strong light with extra batteries
  • ophthalmoscope, stethescope, BP Cuff (pediatric and adult)
  • timer, ruler (in cm’s)
  • reflex hammer
  • birth wheel (for determining gestational age)
  • hand cleanser (bacterostatic soap)
  • a rainbow color chart (a key to clinical history taking if you are working through a translater!)

Medicines of use in any clinic or situation

  • Tylenol/Paracetamol
  • Laxatives!
  • H2 Blockers
  • Antibiotics (keep it simple, bactrim, penn G, amox, metronidazole)
  • KETOKONAZOLE and other antifungals would be very useful Mebendazole for worms

Some medications are much cheaper to purchase in developing countries, so spend any donated money carefully in the States if you intend on buying medicines to bring with you.

Lab Supplies for Tropical Medicine
If you are going to a clinic or hospital with a lab, you may want to gather some of the following supplies to bring with you, as donations, and so that you can perform your own labs. Be sure to take a few moments and photocopy some material on how to make a thick and thin smear for malaria, how to look for schistosomiasis in urine and how to do an Ova and Parasite stool study.

The following pictorial ‘bench aids’ may be of assistance in identifying pathogens. If you know of other excellent tropical medicine lab resources, please forward that info to IHAG. This is NOT an order form, write to the company to order the following lab guides.

Tropical Health Technology Learning Aid Color Series,
Microscopical Dx of

  1. Malaria
  2. African and South American Trypanosomiasis and Leishmaniasis
  3. Lymphatic Filariasis, Loiasis and Onchocerciasis
  4. Ameobiasis, Giardiasis, Cryptosporidium and Isospora
  5. Meningitis, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, TB, Leprosy and Chlamydia
  6. Urinary Schistosomiasis, UTI, Kidney Disease
  7. Sickle Cell, Leukemia, Mono, Lupus, Relapsing Fever, Infection of Blood

To order any of these, write to: (and ask for the latest price)
Tropical Health Technology, 14 Bevills Close, Doddington, March,
Cambridgeshire, PE15 OTT, United Kingdom

Possible Lab Supplies

  • water resistant markers
  • slides, coverslips
  • stain (geimsa, Methanol fixative, KOH)
  • sterile water containers
  • microscope (and a light source)
  • oil for 100x, lens cleaner, lens paper
  • disposable pipettes
  • centrifuge with capped tubes
  • collection tubes for feces and urine
  • formaldehyde and biosafe containers (for biopsy transport back to states)
  • finger lancets, alcohol wipes
  • microtiter dish if you are interested in looking for filariasis

Of Note

  • if you don’t have a centrifuge, you can let the urine sample settle for a few hours and then suction off the top and look at the sediment under the scope, a great way to pick up schistosomiasis hematobium
  • rain H2O is considered distilled after the first few minutes of rain
  • don’t forget to bring the correct electronic adapters for any necessary electronic gadgets

Funding Your Trip

While no single collective source for funding medical students’ trips overseas exists, there are a vast supply of resources available if you are willing to do research on the topic ahead of time. These funding opportunities can be through the organization with which you are participating, your medical school, or a private source, and if you are creative you can pool them together from a variety of resources, based on religious, social, economic, educational, racial, gender, or regional affiliations, to name a few. Many students opt to fundraise, while many also compile a convincing presentation to persuade their schools to provide funding.

Upcoming Meetings & Student Opportunities

AMSA works year round organizing events and coordinating institutional opportunities for its members. We hope you will get involved.