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
As in virtually all developing countries with poor sanitation, the major causes of illness in Myanmar are infectious diseases. Myanmar has high incidences of malaria and other mosquito borne illnesses, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, and road traffic injuries. Myanmar has more than 50 percent of all malaria-related deaths in Southeast Asia, with reports of artemisinin-resistant malaria on the border with Thailand, attributed to lack of access to adequate diagnosis and treatment, the use of counterfeit anti-malarials, and conflict.
The incidence of snake bite prevalence is high in Myanmar and Southeast Asia in general. The overwhelming majority of bites occur in rural areas among agricultural workers and children. Many rural populations have poor access to health care, as well as poor education regarding first aid and specific snake bite treatments available to them. There are 145 species of snakes in Myanmar. Russell’s viper accounts for 70-80 percent of snake bites in Myanmar. Snake bites occur seasonally usually during peak agricultural periods: the rice planting months of May through July and the harvest period in October and November. The Peace Corps medical officer will provide education on the risks, emphasizing snake bite prevention.