Each post maintains a health unit with at least one full-time medical officer who handles Volunteers’ primary health-care needs, including evaluation and treatment of most medical conditions. Upon your arrival in-country, you will receive a country-specific health handbook. During pre-service training, the health unit will provide you with a medical kit with basic medical supplies to treat mild illnesses and first aid needs. During this time, you must provide your own prescription medications and any other specific medical supplies you need. (Bring a three-month supply of your prescriptions!). Your prescription medications will be ordered for you during Pre-Service training, and it may take several months for shipments to arrive. After training the medical officers will provide the prescription medications you take during service. Your medical kit can be restocked anytime during service.
During service, the medical officers are available to answer your questions, and you may always feel free to contact them by phone, text message, email, or in person if you feel you have a physical, emotional, or other problem that relates to your health or well-being. You will have physicals at mid-service and at the end of your service, and can be seen by your medical officer on an as-needed basis. Additional medical care is available at local hospitals. If you develop a serious medical problem during your service, the medical officer will consult with the Office of Health Services in Washington, D.C., or a regional medical officer. If you cannot receive the care you need in-country, you will be transported to a Peace Corps-approved regional medical facility or the U.S. Read more about the Peace Corps’ approach to health.
Health Issues in-country
Major health problems among Peace Corps Volunteers in Burkina Faso are rare and are often the result of Volunteers not taking preventive measures to stay healthy. The most common major health concerns in Burkina Faso are malaria, amebic dysentery, hepatitis, meningitis, and HIV/AIDS.
Because malaria is endemic in Burkina Faso, Volunteers are required to take anti-malarial pills. On arrival, each Volunteer meets with their Peace Corps Medical Officer to discuss choices of malaria prophylaxis and the risks and benefits of each. Each Volunteer can discuss their concerns with the Medical Officer, and then decide which medication they are most comfortable taking for effective malaria prevention. Throughout their service, Volunteers have ongoing discussions with their Peace Corps Medical Officer and have the opportunity to make adjustments to their malaria prophylaxis medication. In addition, the Medical Officer will recommend prevention strategies, including sleeping under permethrin-treated mosquito bed nets, use of insect repellent, and wearing long sleeves and pants.
You will also receive vaccinations against yellow fever, hepatitis A and B, meningitis, typhoid, and rabies, if you are not already vaccinated against these diseases.
Other health problems in Burkina Faso are similar to those found in the United States, such as colds, diarrhea, headaches, dental problems, sinus infections, skin infections, minor injuries, STIs, emotional problems, and alcohol abuse. These problems may be more frequent or compounded by life in Burkina Faso because environmental factors raise the risk or exacerbate the severity of certain illnesses and injuries.