MEDLIFE is proud to announce an alliance with LATAM Airlines to fight against anemia in communities throughout Peru. With the support of an international airline, our Movement is able to expand our medical, education, and development work to new communities and empower hundreds of people in the fight for a world free from the constraints of poverty. 

Keep reading to learn more! 

Anemia: Malnutrition in Impoverished Communities 

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Anemia is a condition when your blood lacks enough healthy red blood cells, causing fatigue, hunger pains, pale complexion, and a host of other side effects. It is a global issue that impacts a large portion of Peru’s rural populations, mainly due to poor diet and living conditions caused by poverty. In fact, a census conducted by the Integrated Food Security Program (PISA) in Chiclayo identified that the prevalence of anemia was found to be 15% higher in communities considered ‘poor’ (1) — such as the ones where MEDLIFE works. 

In Peru, some studies have been conducted on the prevalence of anemia in rural areas, of which two groups prevail: children from 0 to 5 years of age and adolescents between 12 and 17 years of age (2).

The condition can largely be attributed to iron deficiency, occurring in both children and adolescents because they are in a period of rapid growth. During these growth stages, the body requires more iron and its deficiency could have two main negative effects on the person: decreased cognitive development and productivity. 

1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/15648265060274S406 
2. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3402/gha.v7.22888?scroll=top&needAccess=true

Building an Alliance 

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With the goal of connecting their primary platform, travel, and a larger social impact, LATAM Airlines Peru joined the Pachacutec Foundation to launch Cocineros que Vuelvan - Chefs that Fly - which aims to support young people in their dream of becoming a chef and in turn give back to their communities. The winners were selected to study at a top culinary school and as part of the award receives a Mobile Clinic in their home community. That’s where we step in. 

LATAM Airlines and MEDLIFE joined together to identify schools in the cities of Ayacucho, Jauja, and Jaén — the home communities of the winners — where we could work hand in hand to prevent and reduce iron deficiency in anemia.  

Our educational efforts will continue for two full academic years, during which time our MEDLIFE medical professionals will provide nutrition education workshops - for both parents and students. As with any of our educational workshops, we focus on teaching about how to live healthier lives, make intelligent decisions about their diet, and trying to implement a culture of preventative care. 

Spread across six schools in the three communities, our team of nurses is working hand in hand with 124 children to teach good nutritional habits and the benefits of eating well. Additionally, we are making home visits and hosting parent workshops to encourage families to support our efforts at home. 

LATAM Airlines has, in turn, supported us both financially and by giving our work recognition. The backing of an international airline extends our credibility and connects our organization with new opportunities to bridge the gap between impoverished communities and quality healthcare and education

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As our alliance continues, we hope to expand our reach and continue working toward our goal of preventing anemia in communities in Peru. More updates to come soon!

To provide long-term, quality healthcare, MEDLIFE’s work goes beyond a week of service - and facilities like the MED Vida Dental Clinic are a great example of how our efforts are made possible. Fully staffed by local dentists, MED Vida has proven to be a positive impact for hundreds of community members where we work in Lima, Peru

Keep reading to learn about the dental clinic’s story!  

MED Vida’s Foundation

MED Vida

During a Mobile Clinic, the dental station is often the most requested services. However, due to a limited number of staff and supplies, dentists are only able to treat 15 patients a day. Furthermore, they are only able to offer basic treatments. 

Prior to the construction of MED Vida, if a patient required further treatment our team would be unable to provide the much-needed care at the clinic site. And while patients would be enrolled in our Patient Follow-Up Program, they often had to travel far from their community to receive quality dental care. Our team of professionals felt there must be a better solution.   

Thus, it was decided that a full-service, permanent dental clinic would be built in an easily accessible location for the communities MEDLIFE works with. In February 2018, we opened an office centrally located in the district of Villa María del Triunfo - where you can find hundreds of communities and over 3,000 community members that directly benefit from MEDLIFE’s work. With its convenient location, many of these community members can easily commute to the clinic to receive dental care. 

A Positive Impact

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Open six days a week, our Movement can now provide quality dental health to dozens of patients each week. Complete with a fully trained dental staff and technological equipment, our team offers community members cosmetic treatments and other walk-in services like at any other full-service dental clinic. Beyond that, we also refer patients that we meet on Service Learning Trips to MED Vida and provide them with care at subsidized costs. There are over 70 treatments and services available, including extractions, fillings, cleanings, and more. 

According to Dr. Jorge Vidal, who both oversees MED Vida and is a full-time dentist at the clinic, the greatest need for these communities comes from a lack of access to professional dentists. MED Vida has three full-time staff members as well as three specialists who can provide treatments. 

In addition to medical care, MED Vida serves as an outlet for dental health education. The dental professionals provide brochures and consultations on the importance of dental hygiene and care to help patients understand, prevent, and treat oral health conditions. Vidal pointed out that community members are generally not accustomed to preventative care. If they are coming to the clinic, they already have a problem. Through our educational efforts we are trying to change that mindset, he said. 

Year-Round Patient Care

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With permanent community structures like MED Vida or the MED Center for Primary Education, our organization can provide year-round sustainable care to community members - even when we don’t have active volunteers on Service Learning Trips. MEDLIFE works hand in hand with communities 24/7/365 to fight for equal access to health, education, and a safe home.  

If you feel inspired to continue our dental health work, sign up for a Dental Clinic Specialty Service Learning Trip or donate to the MEDLIFE Project Fund today! 

One of the central pillars of the MEDLIFE Movement is providing quality education.

Many of the communities we work with are faced with poor infrastructure meaning that school rooms are small or non-existent and they are not built to properly shelter children from the elements, as well as a lack of resources for teachers. MEDLIFE stepped in to fill the gap by introducing a long-term, sustainable solution: the MED Center for Primary Education.   A variety of free educational programs for children and adults are offered at the MED Center for Primary Education.

From March to June this year, students from the Universidad del Pacifico in Lima are offering their time and talents leading workshops for children age 5 to 12 every Sunday at the MED Center for Primary Education. Covering a variety of community-selected topics - from English language to practical communication skills - these workshops aim to empower the youth in impoverished communities surrounding Lima.

Keep reading to learn more!  

Creating a Partnership

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Following a successful collection of youth enrichment classes at the MED Center for Primary Education during the summer (December to March in the Southern Hemisphere), community members asked MEDLIFE to continue course offerings during the school year. While our team was eager to continue the program, we were faced with a tactical issue: the volunteers facilitating classes would be returning to school as well and therefore would be unable to participate in the program.

Upon hearing about the issue, volunteer instructor Katya Haro Köell who studies at the Universidad del Pacifico and had also coordinated previous workshops at the MED Center for Primary Education reached out to MED Program Education Intern Ariana Cerna and proposed the idea of an alliance between MEDLIFE and the university. With the communities facing a need for quality education, Katya stated the partnership would be a great way to give back and potentially benefit both institutions.

A meeting was coordinated with the Universidad del Pacifico’s Servicio Social Program Director Katia Gonzales Becerra, where it was agreed that the school would include the MED Center for Primary Education on the approved list of organizations where students could volunteer and earn practicum course credit toward their degree requirements. Once students signed up to work with MEDLIFE, they were committed to fulfill their volunteer requirements for the remainder of their practicum course. Thus, a partnership was created.

With these new volunteers, MEDLIFE is guaranteed to have hardworking, bright students working in the MED Center for Primary Education. As part of the partnership, 20 volunteers are teaching each Sunday - offering nearly a 1:1 student to teacher ratio.  

In return, MEDLIFE provides student volunteers with the opportunity to complete their required practicum course credit, coupled with a two-day field education training prior to their participation covering teaching methodology strategies, leadership techniques, and the structured creation of workshops. Volunteer teachers also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with students with different realities from their own.

MEDLIFE’s Support 24/7/365

Partnership with Pacifico

MEDLIFE works year-round in our efforts to grow the Movement. We have developed a patient follow-up program in order to support our patients after a Mobile Clinic, and we have full-time, in-country staff members who continue to work hand in hand with communities after our volunteers return home.

The partnership between the MED Center for Primary Education and Universidad del Pacifico is another great example of our efforts at sustainable education services. As we continue growing the MED Center for Primary Education - both physically and with expanded educational opportunities - local support from established organizations in Peru like Universidad de Pacifico is a great advantage to our program offerings.

You can also support MEDLIFE’s year-round work by participating in a Service Learning Trip or donating to the MEDLIFE Project Fund.

Stay tuned for more updates on MEDLIFE’s partnerships in local communities soon!

We have some exciting news - the Wawa Wasi has grown so much that it has officially become our MED Center for Primary Education! Though this is only the first branch of what will eventually be a much larger scale project, this is a key step in progressing toward our ultimate goal of the MED Center and we are thrilled to tell you about it.

The Roots of the Project: The Wawa Wasi

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MEDLIFE worked with our longtime partner community of Union Santa Fe on the outskirts of Lima, Peru to build a physical structure to meet their self-identified needs: the Wawa Wasi. An effort in sustainable development, the idea for the building came from concerns expressed by community members that there was no safe place to leave their children while they went to work.

Rather than building a parallel educational system, we worked hand in hand with government programs already in place. In Lima, the government has a designated education program called CUNAMAS for children from 1 to 2 years. This program provides food, childcare, and education to children in low-income communities. Unfortunately, to qualify for the program the community must have a physical structure in place that offers a suitable and safe environment for the children. That is where MEDLIFE came in.

We constructed a building that could serve as a childcare center on the first floor. For a period of time, we operated hand in hand with CUNAMAS to offer childcare to families in the area. But as the community has grown and changed, their needs have also grown and changed. And to properly meet those needs, the Wawa Wasi has transitioned into to what is now the MED Center for Primary Education.

Becoming the MED Center for Primary Education

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The building has grown from a 1-floor day care center to a 3-floor multi-purpose center with workshops, professional services, and more. Through this growing process, it has become the first physical step in the development of our MED Center in the area. The full-scale MED Center will be a community center focused on particular development issues that the communities face. For example, some of our goals for the MED Center include offering a trade school for children and adults, basic medical and dental services, and providing a safe space for community meetings.

Between its physical growth and expansion of educational offerings, the former Wawa Wasi building and its services have truly embodied our first major step towards the MED Center, via the MED Center for Primary Education. So we thought it was time to officially change the name.

Currently, the MED Center for Primary Education is operating in a variety of ways, all rooted from listening to communities share with us about their needs and priorities. Though CUNAMAS is not currently running a childcare center, we are using the first floor to offer law consultations and psychology appointments from local professionals. We are hopeful that the partnership with CUNAMAS will resume in the coming months. On the second floor, we are offering unique and immersive workshops for children in the area. After school or during summer months, they can come to the MED Center for Primary Education to learn new skills and hobbies like karate, painting, and dance. Additionally, on weekends we have partnered with a local university so that students can volunteer their time to teach supplemental workshops.

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Finally, we are in the process of constructing a third floor for the MED Center for Primary Education and plan to work hand in hand with the community to decide what to offer in the space. It may be a computer area for teenagers to do their school work, a small business workshop for locals, or potentially an area for fun activities like movie nights!

Thanks for all of your support as we continue progressing this project. More updates to come soon!

December 20, 2018 2:32 pm

Experiences for your 2019 Bucket List

Written by Lindsay Mahaney

When planning your 2019 bucket list, consider joining a worldwide Movement to fight for a world free from the constraints of poverty. Make a pact with yourself to give back through your experiences this year, and support MEDLIFE in our mission to empower the poor in their fight for equal access to healthcare, education, and a safe home.

Don’t know where to start? Let us help.

Keep reading for life-changing experiences for your 2019 Bucket List!

Development Corps

Work hand in hand with local professionals and community members on the creation, planning, and execution of a development project. Development Corps is a week-long Service Learning Trip that allows students interested in architecture, engineering, and community planning to gain first-hand experience executing a development project in Peru. 

Create a lasting impact in communities through the creations of public green spaces or sanitation projects by building ecological bathrooms for local families. Public green spaces are an avenue to connect people to their communities. More than a beautiful landscape, public spaces bring people together. Ecological bathrooms create an eco-friendly waste treatment system that recycles nutrients and organic matter for soil enrichment and prevent the spread of diseases - creating a clean and healthy home environment. Both projects are essential components of the Development Corps experience and align with our Movement to provide a safe home. Register for a trip here or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it our team to schedule a new date today!

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Dental Clinic

The Dental Clinic is a week-long Service Learning Trip where students will support local dentists while providing dental screening and treatment to communities in Lima’s urban settlements and in the MEDVIDA Dental Clinic. During MEDLIFE Mobile Clinics, we always offer a dental station. It’s consistently one of the most-requested services, but the dentists are only able to treat 15 patients a day. With a specialty Dental Clinic, we can expand our reach and provide quality dental care to more people.

On the Dental Clinic, students will have the chance to work interactively with patients and dentists by performing a variety of roles including patient registration, station set-up, instrument preparation, and shadowing dentists throughout procedures like extractions, fillings, and cleanings. Students will also have the opportunity to lead adolescent dental education workshops. Register for Dental Clinic today!

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High School Trip

Just because you aren’t a university students doesn’t mean you can’t join the Movement. Modeled after our traditional Service Learning Trips, the exclusive MEDLIFE High School Trip offers the opportunity for students age 15-18 to support developing communities outside Lima, Peru. With additional staff and chaperones to support the project, students are offered the opportunity to experience a Mobile Clinic and Development Project in Lima.

Students will shadow local medical professionals and work alongside community members. In addition to their work in the field, volunteers will participate in educational discussions on social issues, community development, and more. Additionally, you’ll have time to explore the vibrant capital of Peru and explore the rich culture of the country through additional activities outside of clinic hours. Sign up for our High School Trip here

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Leadership Corps

If you’re a leader in your community, this experience may be for you. Spend two weeks learning about immigration and poverty in the rural Andes, as well as the origin of MEDLIFE, in this field course led by our founder, Dr. Nick Ellis. 

Venture to a remote community located four hours outside of Riobamba, Ecuador where you will get first-hand experience working side by side with community members to provide comprehensive care. In addition to the traditional Mobile Clinic we have during our regular Service Learning Trips, participants will get comprehensive discussions lead by our staff and local community members. To learn more, check out our video from last year's Leadership Corps!

 Leadership Corps

Charity Challenge

Travel to give back when you participate in a Charity Challenge to Peru or Tanzania. Simply put, a Charity Challenge is a trek you take part in while fundraising for a worthy cause. In this case, you are supporting the MEDLIFE Project Fund. 100% of the money you raise will provide much-needed funds to support the MEDLIFE Movement. All donations are used in the construction of community development projects like staircases, schools, and safe homes. These projects promote access to basic necessities and skills, enabling low-income families to free themselves from the constraints of poverty - promoting better health, education, and personal development.  

Once you’ve raised the required amount of money, your only job is to complete the challenge. MEDLIFE’s partner travel agency Good Life Expeditions will organize a trek on one of our two exotic routes: the Mount Kilimanjaro 6 day / 5 night trek or the Salkantay 5 day / 4 night trek. Spend time discovering these beautiful locations while supporting a good cause in 2019. Sign up today! 

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What else should we add to our list? Let us know! Contact our MEDLIFE at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it today with suggestions, or to start planning your life-changing experience.

Learn more about the MEDLIFE Movement here.   

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