Costa Rica

Health

Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive approach to disease. The Peace Corps will provide you with the necessary vaccinations, medications, and information to stay healthy. 

Each post maintains a health unit with a 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 basic medical supplies and a medical kit to treat mild illnesses and first aid needs, which can be restocked during service. 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!) The medical officer will order medications for you, and it may take several months for shipments to arrive.

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

Infectious diarrhea, dengue fever, Zika and Chikungunya are among the illnesses that are widely found in Costa Rica. Malaria has recently been identified in specific areas of the country. Not all of these diseases can be prevented through vaccinations or preventive health measures and Volunteers are advised to keep exposure to mosquitos to a minimum. Immunizations are required for all Volunteers in Costa Rica and are kept current during their tour. The Peace Corps medical officer will determine your immunization and medication needs based on your medical history and site assignment. For Volunteers assigned to areas where malaria is found, taking an antimalarial medication and sleeping inside a mosquito net are mandatory.