The Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR) diligently collaborates with the on-campus Student Health Services (SHS) that houses an experienced International Travel medical practitioner. Before departure, all HNGR interns are required to:
- Become educated about: 1) disease processes existing in their host countries; 2) pre-existing disease processes the student is experiencing; 3) Blood Borne Pathogens and prevention of exposure; 4) symptoms and self treatment for non-emergency illnesses (e.g., colds, diarrhea, etc.).
- Have a health physical
- Obtain a list of required and recommended vaccinations and medications and the opportunity to receive the vaccinations through SHS.
- Compose a list of emergency phone numbers and email addresses (e.g., SHS, HNGR office, parents, physician, dentist) to assist them in an acute illness or an emergency.
- Become educated about safety procedures, including general information concerning international and domestic travel, assault, violence, and kidnapping.
- Review the I-SOS website to become familiar with medical and security information for their host country.
- Enroll in a national traveler's program (e.g. for US citizens, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program of the US State Department).
- Prepare a photocopy of passport, immunizations, contact information and airplane tickets to take with them to their field assignment. (Pre-Departure Form)
While we do not expect HNGR interns to understand symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments of infectious tropical diseases, the HNGR curriculum rigorously trains interns to understand their context's culture of health/safety and equips them to respond to minor and major health/safety concerns. Topics of food, safe water, intestinal problems, dehydration, insect bites, injuries, hygiene, blood borne pathogens, water-borne diseases, mosquito-borne diseases, malaria, dengue fever, hepatitis, and triage protocol are all covered in depth in pre-departure training.
As a Wheaton College student participating in an international off-campus program, HNGR students are provided coverage by Wheaton College’s institutional insurance policies during the duration of their HNGR internship, including medevac insurance, liability insurance, and travel accident and sickness insurance. Students should carefully consider and discuss with their parent(s) regarding whether and what type of insurance should be acquired in addition to Wheaton College’s institutional insurance.
Immunizations should begin at least three months prior to departure. For those HNGR interns needing several vaccines, the process may be over the course of several weeks. The following immunizations, boosters, or medications are common:
During the internship, HNGR students following the program's triage protocol. In addition, each intern is expected to:
- Carry an up-to-date small First Aid kit with them at all times.
- Map their community's health resources (e.g. reputable physician(s), clinic(s), hospital(s) and pharmacy(ies).
- Carry with them at all times emergency contact information of their field supervisor and their blood type.
- Register with their home country's embassy online or in person.
- Keep a copy of their passport, immunization record, and ticket at their home stay and their host organization office.
- Regularly dialogue with the HNGR program's Student Support Coordinator, a licensed clinical psychologist, our full time staff person designated to respond to health, safety, and travel concerns.
While the vast majority of student safety is based on the rigor of the training prior to departure, HNGR interns are still required to send bi-weekly assessment letters to the office documenting their academic, spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being throughout the 6 months. Students are also required, as part of their academic assignments, to map and explain their host community's health/safety resources. The HNGR program also exhibits a meticulous 4-level incident reporting protocol explaining our internal and external processes for responding to certain events.
All HNGR interns are required to notify the office regarding any travel during the internship of the following items:
- How many nights you will be away and when you will return
- Whether or not you have permission from your host organization and family
- A contact number where we can reach you in addition to your own phone
- Places you plan to travel to and where you will be staying while in each location
- The above travel and contact information should also be left with your internship supervisor and hosts
In addition, all independent tourist travel during the 25 weeks of the internship should be refrained from. Traveling for other reasons such as holiday, meeting up with other interns or family vacations often have a negative impact on your internship or hosts and can be disruptive to your cultural adjustment and field work. Before any travel, consider these questions:
- How will my travel be perceived by my hosts?
- How will my travel impact my internship work and the organization’s daily operations?
- Is this travel edifying or beneficial for my hosts or organization?
- Is this travel a good use of my resources?
- Will my travel be negatively perceived or misunderstood from my local Christian context or from a cultural context?
- Will my travel cause any unintended harm to my community, relationships or environment?
- Are conditions in my travel destination and travel route, adequate for safety and security?
Families and significant others are not allowed to visit in country before, during, or after the internship.
Returned HNGR interns are expected to have a post-physical at SHS, a complete blood count drawn, and a Tuberculosis test 1-3 months following their return. In addition, all students are required to follow up with the HNGR program's Student Support Coordinator throughout their final semester on campus to debrief the safety, health, and travel issues that arose during their internship.