Indonesia

Health

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

Malaria, dengue fever, gastrointestinal infections, typhoid fever, hepatitis, heat exhaustion and skin infections (including fungal infections, heat rash) are all common illnesses, most of which are entirely preventable with appropriate knowledge and interventions.

All Volunteers are required to get their diphtheria and tetanus vaccination prior to staging. Volunteers will be vaccinated in country against hepatitis A and B, typhoid, seasonal Influenza, Japanese encephalitis and rabies. If you have had any of these immunizations, please bring documentation from the providers who administered the vaccines. Without such documentation, the Peace Corps must give you the vaccines again to ensure that you are properly immunized. These immunizations are not optional.

Malaria is a disease spread by mosquitoes that bite at night. Indonesia has malaria zones and Volunteers living in these zones are required to take malaria prophylaxis. The pre-service training site is not in a malaria zone, so you are not required to take malaria prophylaxis during pre-service training.

If your permanent site is NOT in a malaria zone, you do not need to take malaria prophylaxis; however, any time you travel into a malaria zone, you need to let the medical officer know, so that malaria prophylaxis (Malarone) can be provided to you. If your permanent site is located in a malaria zone, you will meet with the Medical Officer to decide which malaria prophylaxis you want to take. Doxycycline, Mefloquine or Malarone are available choices for Volunteers. The Medical Officer will also recommend other prevention strategies, including sleeping under permethrin-treated mosquito bed nets, use of insect repellent, and wearing long sleeves and pants.

Dengue fever is a disease spread by mosquitoes that bite during the daytime. Dengue fever is endemic to Indonesia and more prevalent during the rainy season. The Medical Officer will recommend prevention strategies such as the use of insect repellent during the day, and wearing long sleeves and pants.

You are encouraged to get enough sleep, maintain good eating habits, refrain from smoking, get a moderate amount of exercise, and practice stress management. Your Medical Officer will discuss specific standards for water and food preparation in Indonesia during pre-service training. It is also important to pay close attention to the sanitary conditions of restaurants, wash your hands frequently, and carry potable water with you all times. iphtheria vaccination (e.g., Tdap, DTap) prior to their staging. Diphtheria is an acute bacterial infection of the upper respiratory tract, which results in the formation of a thick coating across the throat, preventing swallowing and, in many cases, the ability to breathe. If left untreated, diphtheria can damage the nervous system and cardiac muscle, leading to chronic heart disease or heart attack. It is a highly contagious disease, spread from one person to another via touching, coughing, or sneezing. Prevention can be done by proper handwashing, covering one’s mouth when coughing or sneezing, and by vaccination. 

All trainees/Volunteers will receive pre-exposure rabies vaccination series during PST. Rabies is endemic in 24 of the 33 provinces in Indonesia. In Bali, rabies is endemic with the highest mortality rate nationwide. Rabies is a rapidly progressing virus that causes death. It is almost always spread by an animal bite but can also be spread when a rabid animal’s saliva gets directly into the eyes, nose, mouth, or broken skin. The primary sources of human infection worldwide are dogs and certain wildlife species, such as foxes, raccoons, mongooses, and bats. The best protection is to avoid exposure; don't pet any dogs or pick up street cats or kittens. Indonesia has many of the world’s most polluted cities.

In malaria endemic areas, malaria prophylaxis is required. 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. 

It is important to be honest with the Peace Corps medical officer about any history you may have of asthma, reactive airway disease, or other respiratory conditions that could be affected by high levels of air pollution. Respiratory infections are common occurrences. To prevent them, you are encouraged to get enough sleep, maintain good eating habits, refrain from smoking, get a moderate amount of exercise, practice stress management, and wash your hands frequently. Also, do not share a dish (using same spoon/fork) with someone who has a cold. Your medical officer will discuss specific standards for water and food preparation in Indonesia during pre-service training. It is also important to pay close attention to the sanitary conditions of restaurants, wash your hands frequently, and carry potable water with you at all times.