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 Volunteers in the Dominican Republic are rare and are often the result of a Volunteer not taking preventive measures to stay healthy. The most common health problems in the country are minor ones that are also found in the United States, such as colds, diarrhea, sinus infections, skin infections, headaches, dental problems, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), adjustment disorders, and alcohol abuse. These problems may be more frequent or compounded by life in the Dominican Republic because certain environmental factors here raise the risk or exacerbate the severity of illnesses and injuries. The most common major health problems are dengue fever, malaria, chikungunya, and amoebic dysentery. Because malaria is endemic in the Dominican Republic, taking antimalarial pills is required. You will receive vaccinations against the following: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningococcal meningitis, rabies, typhoid, MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), flu vaccine, and TD (tetanus and diphtheria). If you have already received any of these vaccinations, please bring written documentation of the dates they were administered with you. Amoebic dysentery can be avoided by thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables and either boiling drinking water or using the water purification tablets provided in your Peace Corps-issued medical kit.