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-CountryVolunteers are also found in the United States: colds, bronchitis, diarrhea, constipation, sinus infections, skin infections, headaches, dental problems, minor injuries, STDs, emotional problems, and alcohol abuse. These problems may be more acute in Paraguay because certain environmental factors increase the risk or aggravate the severity of some illnesses and injuries. For instance, problems associated with cultural adaptation may exacerbate emotional problems or contribute to alcohol abuse. However, the most common ailments, which are easily preventable, such as diarrhea and giardiasis (caused by a common parasite) are either water- or food-borne. Hepatitis is much rarer, but it can also be transmitted by polluted water or poorly prepared food.
Paraguay is fortunate to be free of many of the diseases endemic to tropical areas, such as amebiasis, Guinea worm, and typhoid fever. However, there are seasonal outbreaks of dengue fever, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. Yellow fever is uncommon; however, there was an outbreak recently. Chagas disease is found in Paraguay, but no Volunteer using the safety measures taught has ever contracted it. Malaria is rare and limited to a small part of the country. Therefore, Volunteers do not need to take malaria
medication, but Volunteers traveling outside of the country may
be exposed to malaria or other diseases not normally encountered
in Paraguay. Volunteers are issued mosquito repellent and
mosquito nets, which can be effective in the prevention of