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 is present throughout the year in most of the country. It can be deadly if left untreated, so prevention and early recognition of infection are extremely important. It is important that you take the malaria prophylaxis, and other preventive measures are strongly encouraged. The Peace Corps will teach you how to recognize potential symptoms and what to do if you think you have malaria. Rabies is also prevalent in the region, and you will receive a series of immunizations against it during training. Schistosomiasis, or bilharzia, is a parasitic infection contracted by swimming in infected fresh water. Because most bodies of fresh water in the country harbor the parasite, you should avoid swimming in known contaminated water. Volunteers are prohibited from swimming in lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams in Madagascar. Symptoms of infection can take some time to develop, so the Peace Corps routinely screens for it at mid-service and end-of-service physical examinations.