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Supporting a local hospital Cuzco, Peru

POSTED ON 21 Feb 2024
placement Details

This aims to give you a better understanding of your chosen project; its logistics and typical day-in-the-life; and to show you what to expect and what is expected of you.  You will be working in Cusco's Regional Hospital, one of the main cities of Peru, where you will be helping in the various medical areas depending on your skills. This will include assisting doctors with basic procedures, performing administrative tasks, and, depending on your experience, helping with more complex procedures. Please be aware that this is quite a new project, so roles are not yet entirely defined and are up to the Hospital coordinator's criteria and the current needs. The tasks you will be asked to do will depend upon your level of experience and general aptitude.

Main Goals of your stay as a volunteer

  • Supporting nurses and doctors with procedures (depending on experience) 
  • Supporting customer service in the hospital
  • Carrying out essential administrative tasks
  • Assisting staff in dealing with patients
  • Sharing your own medical knowledge and experience
  • Learning how hospitals are run, and the difference between those in Europe and South America.

Please note that an intermediate level of Spanish is required.



The Peruvian health system is divided into two sectors: the public and the private sectors. Hospitals, polyclinics and healthcare centres operate under the aegis of the Ministry of Health and Social Security. The private sector includes hospitals and clinics run by many health care providers, including medical cabinets, clinics, pharmacies, and laboratories. Fees apply to consultations in both public and private hospitals.

Unfortunately, Peru’s public healthcare system is poorly funded. A lot of Peruvians don’t have sufficient income to pay for adequate healthcare and the government simply doesn’t have the financial resources required. The health insurance system in the country is expensive, but quality standards are very high in many Peruvian private hospitals and clinics, especially in major cities. Despite measures that have been taken to reduce disparities between middle-income and poor citizens, vast differences still exist. The infant mortality rates in Peru remain high considering its level of income. These rates go up significantly when discussing the poor. In general, Peru’s poorest citizens are subject to unhealthy environmental conditions, decreased access to health services, and typically have lower levels of education. Because of environmental issues such as poor sanitation and vector infestation, higher occurrences of communicable diseases are usually seen among such citizens. Additionally, there is a highly apparent contrast between maternal health in rural (poor) versus urban environments. In rural areas, it was found that less than half of women had skilled attendants with them during delivery, compared to nearly 90% of urban women. Peru's relatively high maternal mortality can be attributed to disparities such as these.

In addition to allocating less of its GDP to health care than its Latin American counterparts, Peru also demonstrates inequalities in the amount of resources that are set aside for poor and non-poor citizens. The richest 20% of the population consume approximately 4.5 times the amount of health goods and services per capita than the poorest 20%.


Mission: To provide comprehensive care in specialised, demanding and referential health care with quality, warmth and timeliness, contributing to research and teaching.

You will be volunteering in a Government funded and run hospital, the Regional Hospital of Cusco, which has been working for the past 56 years providing healthcare to the local population.
It has 312 operational beds, and 765 workers, including doctors, non-medical health professionals, administrative staff, and technicians working in the different specialized areas. It attends to a very varied intercultural population, coming not only from Cusco and its provinces but also from regions in the south of the country such as Apurímac, Madre de Dios, Puno, and others.

  • General Medicine 
  • Internal Medicine 
  • Mental Health 
  • Nephrology 
  • Emergency Services
  • Gynaecology 
  • Obstetrics 
  • Paediatrics 
  • General surgery 
  • Traumatology
  • Orthopaedics 
  • Intensive Care 
  • Nutrition and dietetics 
  • Among others 



  • MEDICAL SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE: To participate in this project you have to be a healthcare professional or student, to be able to have the knowledge and skills to support the hospital. We cannot accept volunteers without previous knowledge or studies in the medical field as the hospital's patients deserve to be treated and taken care of by experts. Unfortunately, there are no tasks for unqualified volunteers.
  • SPANISH SKILLS: In order to communicate well with the patients and the staff, and above all to be able to gain in-depth knowledge and understanding of what they are seeing and assisting with, volunteers need to have an intermediate level of Spanish.


Your role will vary according to your skills and level of training. Every volunteer will have the opportunity to get first-hand experience of working in a hospital and to learn about how the healthcare system works in Peru. Basic administrative tasks (such as filling out medical forms), basic medical procedures (such as taking temperatures or recording heights and weights), and frequent chances to observe the doctors examining and diagnosing patients (accompanied by detailed explanations of what they are doing) will be the work of every volunteer. Those with more experience may help with vaccinations, basic dental procedures, and/or basic treatments (such as the cleaning and dressing of wounds). Professional health specialists will have other specific tasks assigned to them depending on their specialization and where they are needed most. Regardless of whether you carry out basic or advanced tasks, however, you will be making a big difference.

Please be aware that, due to the high poverty levels and poor living standards in the area, as well as the nature of working in a hospital, you should be prepared to have to confront difficult, sensitive, or potentially traumatic situations (such as cases of domestic abuse, malnutrition, serious injury or, very rarely, death). However, these situations are very unlikely to crop up with much frequency.

Overall, your role will be to support existing staff, make sure the patients are comfortable, maintain the administrative infrastructure, and LEARN.


You will be working between 4 to 8 hours in the hospital every day, 5 days a week. Your shifts and work days will be decided by the hospital's head nurse upon your arrival, depending on what the hospital's current needs are, what your skills are or what your specialization is.
Therefore, there is no fixed timetable or shifts.

Depending on your knowledge and skills, you will be supporting one of the different specializations the hospital provides. Check out the section: The Hospital.
We cannot provide specific tasks as these, again, will depend on your skills and knowledge. However, some tasks might be:

  • Welcoming and assisting patients.
  • Carrying out administrative tasks (file organization, filling out basic medical forms, etc.). 
  • Assisting doctors with basic procedures (height and weight measurements, taking temperatures.
  • taking blood pressure, etc.).
  • Observing doctors during their examinations and diagnoses.
  • Depending on your level of experience or aptitude, making preliminary examinations and diagnoses which the doctor will then discuss with you.
  • Carry out vaccinations, dress wounds, give medication, assist in basic procedures, assist in basic laboratory procedures.
  • Helping in the pharmacy.
  • Assisting in the general maintenance of medical supplies and equipment.
  • Checking up on inpatients.
  • Participating in weekly meetings with NGO Taxi coordinator in Peru.
  • Keeping a diary or blog of your time on the project, including photos.

As we said, if you are a health professional or specialist, you will be assigned more complex tasks according to your skills, and this you will decide and coordinate with the hospital directly. 



During your time at the project and your Spanish course, you will be living in Cuzco, either with a host family or in a hostel, depending on what you prefer.
If you live with a host family, it will be a great opportunity for you to practice your Spanish! You will have your own room and bathroom, and will share the kitchen with the family. Fresh linen will be provided for you, but you need to bring your own towel. You will have breakfast and dinner with your host family, and so, they are included, but you will have to take care of your own lunch.

Your host family is the same family that runs the Spanish School where you will be taking your Spanish lessons (more information in the next section). They are lovely and will take care of you as if you were part of the family. They will recommend places, organize excursions, show you around and teach you about the Peruvian culture and cuisine.


You will be met by your Volunteer Coordinator upon arrival in the country at the airport and taken to your accommodation. It is in the center of Cuzco, and it won't take you more than 30 minutes in public transport to get to both the Regional Hospital as well as the Spanish School. After a few days, you will get the hang of the public transport system in Cuzco and you will be able to move around easily and with confidence. Please remember that volunteers are responsible for their own transport costs to and from the hospital each day.


As mentioned before, this project requires you to have an intermediate Spanish language level. Therefore, you should arrive in Cuzco with previous knowledge. You can either organize lessons yourself before your trip or we can organize online lessons for you (for a surcharge) with our affiliated Spanish School.

Once you arrive in Cuzco, you will have a week of intensive Spanish lessons, to polish your skills right before starting in the hospital, and to learn specific vocabulary for your daily medical activities. During this time we urge you to focus on improving your language skills. Your language course takes place from 8.30 - 12.30 pm Monday to Friday.


Cusco is a beautiful historical city, with loads to see and do. Take a city tour to discover the historical sights, visit its museums or relax in a local cafe watching the locals go about their daily activities. Do you want to meet new people? Why don't you join a dance class or a cooking class?
Or use Cusco as a base to visit the imposing citadel of Machu Picchu or the breathtaking Rainbow Mountains!

If you are a sporty person, go hiking or mountain biking in the Andes, and if you are into extreme sports, why don't you try rafting, paragliding, or ziplining? We assure you, in Cusco there is so much to do you won't have time to get bored! 


You should be up-to-date on routine vaccinations when traveling to any destination. Some vaccines may also be required for travel. Routine vaccinations include:

  • Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR). 
  • Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis. 
  • Polio.

Required travel vaccinations include: 

  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis A
  • Yellow Fever

Please make sure that you have up-to-date vaccinations for all of these diseases. NGO Taxi cannot be held responsible for the provision of vaccinations for their volunteers. It is the responsibility of the volunteer to ensure that they have followed up-to-date medical advice.

We hope your overall experience from this project will be a positive one. We want you to know that Cesar and Victoria are incredibly happy and grateful for all of your help and will do their best to make you feel welcome, appreciated, and a part of the family. All our latest volunteers have been very happy at the Animal Shelter.

You will find that in Peru, things don’t always go as planned and it can in general be very slow and disorganized. We would therefore ask you to stay positive, patient, and flexible and take it as a learning opportunity, and a chance for you to become familiar with a culture so different from your own.

We look forward to receiving your application and hopefully you can join us as a helping hand on one of our volunteer placements soon!

Start Dates: 
1st and 3rd Sunday each month. 

Individual Start Dates:
+ € 150,00 – Start your placement any Sunday of the month.
+ € 250,00 – Choose your own start dates and change them up to 3 times before your trip.

€ 1299,00 – 1st month
€ 1249,00 – 2nd month
€ 1199,00 – 3rd month, and after.

There are special prices if you want to come and volunteer with a partner or friend. Please contact the organisation.


NGO Medical

NGO Taxi


Supporting a local hospital Cuzco, Peru


Care Work Projects



Included with this course
  • Food included
  • Airport pick up

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