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-CountryThere are some health issues, which could have impact on a Volunteer’s health. There is a wide range of communicable diseases such as diarrhea, and parasites through the exposure to farm animals prevalent throughout the country. Upon coming to country, the Pre-service training is aimed to give you information, knowledge and skills on how to protect and promote your health during your Peace Corps service.
In remote rural areas there may be limited access to safe drinking water; however, the Peace Corps provides adequate filters and training for how to ensure you are using safe drinking water. Volunteers may find low sanitary hygiene norms among the population related to hand washing; and there be a high environment of contamination by microbes, but using simple measures as washing hands will keep you healthy during Peace Corps service.
Since tuberculosis is present in the region, it is advisable to stay away from someone who is chronically coughing. A TB skin test is required for pre-service medical clearance prior to arrival in the Kyrgyz Republic, mid-service, and at the end of your service.
Like many developing countries there are high risks of motor vehicle accidents. Volunteers are prohibited from driving, but also receive training regarding what to watch for regarding public transportation. Volunteers are provided regular reports on road safety conditions – such as mudslides, tunnel or road closures.
At times, anxiety or emotional health can become a health issue. This is often related to cross-cultural issues, stress, and fatigue, misunderstanding between counterparts, host-family members, unwanted attention and miscommunications.Volunteers receive training and staff support in how to deal with such issues.