Unmet needs in global health are important issues, not yet solved by the international community. A variety of individuals, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and government institutions have tried to address this situation, developing multiple types of international cooperation (IC), such as humanitarian aid (HA), cooperation for development (CD) and medical missions (MM). In the last decades, we have witnessed an exponential growth in the creation and participation of these projects. Moreover, in the last 20 years, Chile has experimented a real paradigm switch, from a receiver to a provider of IC. Due to the recent surge in interest and relevance of the topic, we performed a narrative revision of the literature related with IC. In the present article, we characterize the different types of IC, with emphasis in MM: we address the risks, controversies and ethical problems associated with these activities. We finally propose some guidelines for the future development and promotion of MM.
Medical Missions; Medical Ethics; volunteer; Less-Developed Countries