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
The most common health problems in Cameroon are minor ones that are also found in the United States. These include colds, diarrhea, constipation, sinus infections, skin infections, headaches, dental problems, minor injuries, sexually transmitted infections, emotional problems, and alcohol abuse. These problems may be more frequent or compounded by life in Cameroon because certain environmental factors raise the risk or exacerbate the severity of illness and injuries. Many illnesses that afflict Volunteers worldwide are entirely preventable if proper food and water precautions are taken. These illnesses include food poisoning, parasitic infections, hepatitis A, dysentery, Guinea worms, tapeworms, and typhoid fever. Your medical officer will discuss specific standards for water and food preparation in Cameroon during pre-service training.
The most common major health concerns in Cameroon are malaria, amoebic dysentery, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, schistosomiasis, and filariasis. You will be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, meningitis A and C, tetanus/diphtheria, typhoid, and rabies. Because malaria is endemic in Cameroon, taking anti-malarial medication is required. Thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables and boiling your drinking water can prevent amoebic dysentery. You will be tested for schistosomiasis, a parasitic disease, at the end of service. It is critical to your health that you promptly report to the Peace Corps health unit for scheduled immunizations and that you let your medical officer know immediately of significant illnesses and injuries.