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

The most common health problems among Volunteers and the Nicaraguan population in general, which also occur in the United States, are upper respiratory infections and diarrhea. These problems may be more frequent or compounded by life in Nicaragua because certain environmental and cultural factors in the country raise the risk or exacerbate the severity of illnesses and injuries. Some gastrointestinal problems can be avoided by boiling drinking water and thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables before eating them. Two additional major health concerns are malaria and dengue fever. Because malaria is endemic here, the Peace Corps requires all Volunteers to take anti-malarial 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. You will also be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, tetanus/diphtheria, polio, typhoid, measles, mumps, rubella, rabies, H1N1, and seasonal influenza as part of the Peace Corps’ preventive health program.