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Health

Volunteer Health

The comprehensive medical evaluation in the second stage of the application process facilitates the placement of a Volunteer in a country that has adequate resources to meet the health care needs of the Volunteer. The Peace Corps staff includes at least one medical officer at each country's post. Nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and physicians can serve as a Peace Corps medical officer. These dedicated providers include host-country nationals, third-country nationals and Americans. They are all carefully evaluated and credentialed by Peace Corps' Office of Medical Services Quality Improvement Unit at Headquarters. The quality of medical care at the posts is monitored regularly by the Office of Medical Services at Peace Corps headquarters.

The in-country medical staff trains Volunteers on staying healthy, provides them with the basic medical skills and supplies needed to do so, and provides primary care as needed. If a health problem occurs that cannot be treated locally, the Peace Corps, at its expense, will send the Volunteer to a regional facility or, if indicated, to the United States for treatment. Prevention is an important part of each Volunteer's health care. The Peace Corps assumes the costs of necessary or appropriate medical and dental expenses related to existing conditions at the time of entry into Peace Corps and to conditions that develop during Peace Corps service. Cosmetic and "life style" medications and treatments are not paid by Peace Corps. Volunteers are eligible for benefits under the Federal Employee Compensation Act for most injuries or illnesses arising during Peace Corps service.

Medical staff in-country and at Headquarters are bound by laws regarding medical confidentiality. A Volunteer's medical information may only be released to family or friends through the Volunteer's written consent. In a life-threatening situation, medical information may be shared with an emergency contact person previously identified by the Volunteer.

Other Medical support actions:

  • Up to 25 hours of health education, which integrates emotional health, as part of pre-service training
  • Mid-service and close-of-service physical and dental evaluations
  • Medical newsletters and training during service
  • Visits by the Peace Corps medical officer to the Volunteer's sites
  • In-country medical officer is on-call 24/7 for emergencies

Ensuring Volunteers' Health During & After Service

Peace Corps' top priorities are the health and safety of our Volunteers. Over the past three years, the agency has undertaken a reform of our health services to improve the quality of care and support for both current and returned Volunteers.
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Last updated Oct 08 2014

Emergency 24-hour
telephone number

855.855.1961, ext. 1470
or 202.692.1470

This line is staffed by the Peace Corps Counseling and Outreach Unit (COU) and they can:

  • notify a Volunteer of an emergency (e.g. critical illness or death of a family member)
  • respond to family questions about a Volunteer's status
  • supply an update about civil unrest or a natural disaster in the host country
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