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-CountryThe most important of your responsibilities in Kenya is to take the following preventive measures: Food and water preparation. Many diseases that afflict Volunteers worldwide are entirely preventable if proper food and water precautions are taken. These diseases include food poisoning, amobiasis, giardiasis, hepatitis A, dysentery, all types of worms, and typhoid fever. Your medical office will discuss specific standards for water and food preparation for Kenya during pre-service training.
- Malaria is endemic in Kenya. Malaria can rapidly become fatal in people who have no natural immunity to the disease. It is extremely important to fully comply with the recommended drug regimen to prevent malaria. Immunizations. The majority of your immunizations will be given to you during your pre-service training. Most immunizations are good for the duration of your time in Kenya. The exception is typhoid, which will require a booster if you extend for a third year of service.
- Rabies is present in nearly all Peace Corps countries. Any possible exposure to a rabid animal must be reported immediately to the medical office. Rabies exposure can occur through animal bites, scratches from animals’ teeth, and contact with animal saliva. Your medical officer will take into consideration many factors to decide the appropriate course of therapy necessary to prevent rabies.
- HIV/AIDS is a major health concern in Kenya.Volunteers must use available means of protection in every sexual encounter where bodily fluids may be transferred or they risk contracting a deadly disease. In the United States, high-risk groups include sexually active homosexuals and bisexual men with multiple partners, intravenous drug users, and heterosexuals with multiple partners. It is important to emphasize that while HIV/AIDS in the United States has occurred primarily (though not exclusively) in these high-risk groups, in Kenya, the disease affects men and women equally, regardless of sexual preference, and is primarily transmitted by heterosexual contact.