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

All water in Senegal is considered contaminated. This includes tap water in Dakar and other cities. Visitors should drink only bottled or treated (boiled or chemically treated) water or brand-name bottled or canned beverages, such as Coca-Cola, Fanta, etc. Ice cubes in restaurants are not safe and mixing alcohol with contaminated water will not purify the water. If visitors plan to travel to villages where safe bottled water may not be available, they should plan to carry an adequate water supply or chemical additives with them. Peeled fruit and vegetables are safe to eat, as are unpeeled fruit and vegetables that have been well cooked. Salads can be dangerous, even in “good” restaurants, since lettuce and other vegetables may have been washed with contaminated water. Food should be thoroughly cooked, freshly prepared, served hot, and should not have been exposed to contamination by flies or other insects. All raw seafood should be avoided. Meat should be ordered well-done, “bien cuit” in French.