What About Health?
Peace Corps service is a life-defining leadership experience. Volunteer assignments are very physically and mentally demanding. Volunteers typically experience more physical activity (i.e., walking, biking), less-developed public transportation systems, new diets, new languages, and new challenges to personal resilience. Other challenges can include different housing and sanitation norms, a lack of Internet connectivity, and less health-care infrastructure than what is in the U.S.
Your health, safety, and security are the Peace Corps' top priorities. As you explore opportunities to serve in the different countries where we work, it is important to consider your individual health needs and personal medical history. Many health conditions that are easily managed in the U.S. due to access and availability of care present serious health risks in the countries where Peace Corps Volunteers serve. Individual health-care considerations that can impact placement include medications needed, life-threatening allergies, and personal health histories that require medical sub-specialists. Access to care and services can be taken for granted in the U.S., but in the Peace Corps, the Office of Medical Services carefully plans for your support. In our 50-plus years of providing health care to Volunteers, we have built our support system on the understanding that completely new environments place additional physical and mental stresses on Volunteers, which may require additional support in-country. Planning for relevant support is an essential element of our 27-month program.
Applicants are required to completely and accurately disclose their medical history and current medical status to the Peace Corps' professional medical staff. Failure to disclose medical information can lead to a Volunteer being removed from a program and returned home immediately. Accurately disclosing your medical history allows the Peace Corps to work hard to match you to countries with the resources necessary to help you stay healthy throughout your service. Learn more
Health History for International Placement
When you apply to the Peace Corps, the Health History Form you complete will indicate to the Office of Medical Services which countries can provide the medical support required to maintain your health during your 27-month assignment overseas. Be sure to complete the Health History Form completely and accurately in order to receive program choices that do not put your health at risk. Serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer is different than visiting a country as a short-term tourist. Read about long-term stays in other countries to prepare yourself for maintaining your health abroad:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Traveler's Health
(Select Country and click on “Extended Stay/Study Abroad")
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Traveler's Health
The Peace Corps requires your current immunization records to determine what booster(s) or new vaccinations may be necessary before you depart for service. Many immunizations are provided in your country of service and may not be required before departure.
Country Medical Support
As you review Volunteer openings , each listing has medical considerations to take into account before you apply to the Peace Corps. Volunteers can only serve in programs and countries that can support their medical needs.
Learn more about international travel and health.
- World Health Organization
- We encourage you to consult other online resources that may be available.
Last updated May 06 2015