Illness and injury happen both at home and abroad. One of our goals in preparing you to serve as a Volunteer is to help you understand the health risks of the country where you will serve.
The health of Volunteers is a key priority of the Peace Corps. Volunteers are given information on country-specific health concerns and trained in health risk prevention during pre-service training. In addition, as a Volunteer, you will have access to medical care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Each country maintains a Health Unit with Medical Officers who handle Volunteers' primary health care needs, including evaluation and treatment of most medical conditions. Upon your arrival in-country, the Medical Officers are available to provide health care services. The Health Unit will provide you with a country-specific health handbook and a medical kit with basic medical supplies to treat mild illnesses and injuries. The Peace Corps will restock your medical kit with supplies as needed throughout your service. Your prescription medications will be ordered for you during pre-service training and provided throughout your service, but these medications may take several months to arrive. Therefore, the Peace Corps requests you bring at least a three-month supply of your prescriptions (e.g., birth control) and other specific medical supplies to use during your initial months in-country.
During service, the Peace Corps Medical Officers are available to answer your questions, and you are always free to contact them by phone, text message, email, or in person if 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 at the authorization of a Medical Officer. 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 to the United States.
Health Issues in-country
- COVID-19 rates remain low in Viet Nam compared to other countries globally, due to strict measures and policies around preventative measures, quarantines, border closures and contact tracing. The Government of Viet Nam is currently pursuing a vaccination campaign, with plans to set up a vaccination fund with a goal of acquiring enough vaccines to vaccinate 75 million of the country’s 98 million population.
- Dengue fever: Along with your medical kit, you will receive a mosquito net and insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites.
- Malaria: Malaria is found in some areas of Viet Nam. Volunteers who plan to visit these areas should contact the Peace Corps Medical Officer in advance for consultation.
- Air Quality: Viet Nam ranks among the ten countries with the world’s worst air pollution; the problem is particularly serious in the cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
- Gastrointestinal problems: Several approaches will be recommended to reduce, but can never completely eliminate, the risk for getting travelers’ diarrhea. In your medical kit, you will receive water purification treatment tablets. Water filters will be provided to Volunteers. It’s recommended that you filter your water and properly prepare foods (this will be explained in pre-service training.)