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
- Dengue fever: Along with your medical kit, you will receive a mosquito net and insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites.
- Gastrointestinal problems: In your medical kit, you will receive water purification treatment tablets. It’s recommended that you filter your water and properly prepare foods (this will be explained in pre-service training).
- Overexposure to the sun: It’s recommended that you wear sunscreen, a hat (see guidelines under “Shoes and Accessories” regarding cultural norms for wearing hats), and sunglasses.
- Skin infections: In your medical kit, you will receive skin ointments so you can treat all minor wounds promptly before they become infected.
- Hazardous marine life and water safety: You will receive a personal flotation device that you must wear when traveling by water. Additionally, you should avoid touching any sea creatures and be alert to changes in the sea and weather patterns.