Health care and safety in Ghana
Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative approach to disease. Peace Corps in Ghana maintains a clinic with a full-time medical officer who takes care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. Additional medical services, such as testing and basic treatment, are also available in Ghana. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported to either an American-standard medical facility in the region or to the United States.
- 1 Health Issues in Ghana
- 2 Helping You Stay Healthy
- 3 Maintaining Your Health
- 4 Water-borne disease
- 5 Food-related disease
- 6 Diarrhea
- 7 Malaria
- 8 HIV/AIDS
- 9 Alcohol
- 10 Animals
- 11 Women’s Health Information
- 12 Your Peace Corps Medical Kit
- 13 Before You Leave: A Medical Checklist
- 14 Safety and Security—Our Partnership
- 15 Factors that Contribute to Volunteer Risk
- 16 Summary Strategies to Reduce Risk
- 17 Support from Staff
- 18 What if you become a victim of a violent crime?
- 19 Security Issues in Ghana
- 20 Staying Safe: Don’t Be a Target for Crime
- 21 Preparing for the Unexpected: Safety Training and Volunteer Support in Ghana
Health Issues in Ghana
Almost every tropical disease is endemic in Ghana, and you must be prepared to learn about health hazards and to take necessary measures to protect yourself from them. Proper food and water preparation, malaria prophylaxis, personal hygiene, and safety are essential features of a healthy Volunteer experience. Both HIV l and 2, which cause AIDS, are prevalent in Ghana, and you must be willing to adopt appropriate behaviors to protect yourself.
In addition, Ghana’s coastal areas are among the most dangerous in the world for having unpredictable undertows and riptides. Many people drown every year while swimming off the Ghana coastline.
Helping You Stay Healthy
The Peace Corps will provide you with all the necessary inoculations, medications, and information to stay healthy. Upon your arrival in Ghana, you will receive a medical handbook. At the end of training, you will receive a first-aid kit with supplies to take care of mild illnesses and first-aid needs.
During pre-service training, you will have access to basic first-aid supplies through the medical officer. However, during this time, you will be responsible for your own supply of prescription drugs and any other specific medical supplies you require, as we will not order these items during training. Please bring a three-month supply of any prescription drugs you use, since they may not be available here, and it may take several months for new shipments to arrive.
You will have physicals at mid-service and at the end of your service. If you develop a serious medical problem during your service, the medical officer in Ghana will consult with the Office of Medical Services in Washington, D.C. If it is determined that your condition cannot be treated in Ghana, you may be sent out of the country for further evaluation and care.
Maintaining Your Health
As a Volunteer, you must accept a certain amount of responsibility for your own health. Proper precautions will significantly reduce your risk of serious illness or injury. The old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” becomes extremely important in areas where medical diagnostic and treatment facilities are not up to the standards of the United States. The most important of your responsibilities in Ghana include taking preventive measures for the following:
Unless your medical officer tells you otherwise, assume that only boiled water or water that has been both filtered and treated with iodine or chlorine is safe to drink. Very little of the water in Africa is potable, whether it comes out of the tap or from the village well. Even in restaurants and on airplanes, there are no guarantees. Bottled carbonated beverages are safe, as are tea or coffee (if prepared with boiling water). Do not forget that ice cubes may contaminate your bottled or canned beverage. Freezing water does not purify it. Even brushing your teeth with tap water can be a source of contamination. Your medical officer will show you how to prepare water.
Safe foods are those that are recently prepared, thoroughly cooked, and not subsequently left out where flies can recontaminate the food. Uncooked foods that cannot be peeled or soaked should be considered unsafe. Avoid salads. Unboiled milk or unprocessed cheese may harbor tuberculosis or other bacterial disease. Your medical officer will show you how to prepare safe foods and choose those that have already been cooked. Always wash your hands, especially before eating.
Although travel is great, diarrhea is not. While we wish it were otherwise, years of experience and thousands of Peace Corps Volunteers attest to the simple fact that, from time to time during your Peace Corps experience, you will have diarrhea. If you get diarrhea, be sure to drink a lot of fluids to avoid dehydration. Juice, broth, or oral rehydration solutions (your medical officer will discuss this with you) are best. Avoid coffee, milk products, and alcohol when you have diarrhea.
If you are able to eat, choose a light diet of foods such as rice, bread, and broth. As a general rule, it is better not to use any medications unless provided by the medical officer as they can prolong the recovery period. Fortunately, most cases of diarrhea resolve themselves in a few days with rest and fluids. You should contact your medical officer if you have bloody diarrhea, fever, become dehydrated, or have significant diarrhea lasting longer than three to five days.
You are scheduled to serve in an area where malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, is prevalent. The risk of getting malaria can be significantly reduced if certain preventive strategies are used. The use of mosquito nets and screens is essential in reducing the risk of mosquito bites. Other measures are the use of protective clothing and insect repellents.
The regular and continuous use of anti-malaria drugs is a key element in the prevention of malaria. In Ghana, chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum is an important cause of malaria infection. As a result, all Volunteers will be taking a medication regimen. Most Volunteers will take mefloquine (e.g., Larium, Mephaquin), one tablet (250 mg) every week. Because of individual differences, side-effect profile, and medical history, a small percentage of Volunteers may not tolerate mefloquine and may thus require other prophylactic medications such as doxycycline. The final decision as to the particular anti-malaria drug you will take will be made after taking into account side effects and your medical history.
Once your medical officer selects your malaria prophylactic regimen, you must take it throughout your Volunteer service and for four weeks after you leave the malarious area. In addition, to eradicate any remaining malaria parasites, you also must take another anti-malarial drug, primaquine, when you leave Ghana (one tablet daily for 14 days).
Keep in mind that no single or combined malaria prophylactic regimen is 100 percent effective. Avoidance of mosquito bites is imperative! By using bed nets and insect repellent you will greatly reduce your risk of exposure to mosquito bites. In fact, you cannot get malaria, filaria, dengue fever, and a host of other diseases if you do not get insect bites. The best ways to avoid insect bites are to sleep under a mosquito net (provided by Peace Corps), wear long sleeves and pants whenever possible, use insect repellent (provided by Peace Corps), and be sure there are screens on your windows and doors (if your house does not already have these, you can have them installed locally). Even so, you may get malaria, but it can be effectively treated if you seek prompt medical attention. Failure to take the anti-malaria prophylaxis is grounds for administrative separation from Peace Corps service.
HIV infection is very common in Africa. AIDS is a fatal disease. Peace Corps Volunteers in Africa have become infected with HIV during Peace Corps service. Many other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are far more common in Africa than in the United States. Abstinence is the only 100 percent certain choice for preventing HIV/AIDS and other STDs. If you choose to be sexually active, you are taking some risks. To lessen the risk, use a condom every time you have sex. Whether your partner is a host country citizen, fellow Volunteer, or anyone else, do not assume your partner is free of HIV/AIDS or any other STD. Most of the Volunteers who have become HIV infected during Peace Corps service contracted the virus through heterosexual transmission. You will receive more information from your medical officer about this very important issue.
Volunteers are expected to adhere to an effective means of birth control to prevent HIV/AIDS and unplanned pregnancies. Your medical officer can help you decide on the most appropriate method to suit your individual needs. Condoms and other forms of birth control are available without charge in the medical office. Remember, unlike condoms, other forms of birth control do not prevent STDs. Talk with the medical officer about what you need.
Some of the local, national, and international beverages containing significant amounts of alcohol are already known to you, but others will come as a surprise. These may be encountered during social events, festivals, and village celebrations. Practices and tolerances vary widely. Know your limits, and if you choose to drink, drink sensibly. Being “out of control” in Ghana can set you up for all sorts of problems, not the least of which are personal injury, assault, and robbery.
The rabies virus is prevalent throughout Africa, and your chances of being exposed to the virus through an animal bite are not remote. That is why you will receive a series of pre-exposure immunizations against rabies when you arrive in country. If you are exposed to an animal known or suspected of having rabies, inform your medical officer at once so that you can receive post-exposure booster shots. Be wary of all unknown animals. In Ghana, Peace Corps Volunteers are permitted to have pets, acquired locally. If you choose to have a pet, remember that this is a major responsibility. Any animals you have must be immunized against rabies and other prevalent animal diseases in country. If you are unwilling to do this, reconsider your wish to have a pet.
It is critical to your health that you promptly report to the medical office or other designated facility for scheduled immunizations, and that you let your medical officer know immediately of significant illness and injuries.
Women’s Health Information
Pregnancy is a health condition that is treated in the same manner as other Volunteer health conditions requiring medical attention, but may also have programmatic ramifications. The Peace Corps is responsible for determining the medical risk and the availability of appropriate medical care if the Volunteer remains in country. Given the circumstances under which Volunteers live and work in Peace Corps countries, it is rare that the Peace Corps medical and programmatic standards for continued service can be met. The majority of Volunteers who become pregnant are medically separated.
Feminine hygiene products are available for you to purchase on the local market, though they are expensive. If you require a specific feminine hygiene product, please bring a six-month supply with you. It is recommended to bring two-year’s worth of OB tampons because they pack small and there is no applicator that you have to be concerned about disposing in a village setting with no garbage collection system.
Your Peace Corps Medical Kit
The Peace Corps medical officer provides Volunteers with a first-aid kit that contains basic items necessary to prevent and treat illnesses that might occur during service. Kit items can be periodically restocked at your Peace Corps medical office.
First Aid Kit Contents
Antacid tablets (Tums)
Antiseptic antimicrobial skin cleaner (Hibiclens)
American Red Cross First Aid & Safety Handbook
Bacitracin/Neomycin/Polymycin B ointment
Diphenhydramine HCL (Benadryl): 25 mg tablets
Insect repellent stick (Cutter’s)
Iodine tablets (Water purification tablets)
Lip balm (Chapstick)
Oral rehydration salts and Gatorade
Oral thermometer (Fahrenheit)
Pseudephedrine HCL (Sudafed): 30 mg tablets
Robitussin-DM lozenges (Cough calmers)
Sterile gauze pads
Tetrahydrozaline eye drops (Visine)
Tinactin cream (Tolnaftate)
Before You Leave: A Medical Checklist
If there has been any change in your health—physical, mental, or dental—since the time you submitted your examination reports to the Peace Corps, you must immediately notify the Office of Medical Services. Failure to disclose new illnesses, injuries, allergies, or pregnancy can endanger your health and may jeopardize your eligibility to serve.
If your dental exam was done more than a year ago, or if your physical exam is more than two years old, contact the Office of Medical Services to find out whether you need to update your records.
If your dentist or Peace Corps dental consultant has recommended that you undergo dental treatment or repair, you must complete that work and make sure your dentist sends requested confirmation reports or X-rays to the Office of Medical Services.
If you wish to avoid taking duplicate vaccinations, you should contact your physician’s office, obtain a copy of your immunization record, and bring it to your pre-departure orientation. If you have any immunizations prior to Peace Corps service, the Peace Corps cannot reimburse you for the cost. The Peace Corps will provide all the immunizations necessary for your overseas assignment, either at your predeparture orientation or shortly after you arrive in Ghana. You do not need to begin taking malaria medication prior to your arrival at your pre-departure orientation.
Bring a three-month supply of any prescription or over-thecounter medication you use on a regular basis, including birth-control pills. Although the Peace Corps cannot reimburse you for this three-month supply, we will order refills during your service.
While awaiting shipment—which can take several months— you will be dependent on your own medication supply. The Peace Corps will not pay for herbal or non-prescribed medications, such as St. John’s Wort, glucosamine, Selenium, or anti-oxidant supplements.
You are encouraged to bring copies of medical prescriptions signed by your physician. This is not a requirement, although it might come in handy if you are questioned in transit about your on-hand three-month supply of prescription drugs.
If you wear eyeglasses, bring two pairs with you—a pair and a spare. If a pair breaks, the Peace Corps will replace it only once, using the information your doctor in the United States provided on the eyeglasses form during your examination. To reduce the risk of developing a serious infection or other eye disease, we discourage you from using contact lenses during your Peace Corps service. Most Peace Corps countries do not have appropriate water and sanitation to support eye care with the use of contact lenses. The Peace Corps will not supply or replace contact lenses or associated solutions unless their use has been recommended by an ophthalmologist for a specific medical condition and the Peace Corps’ Office of Medical Services has given approval.
If you are eligible for Medicare, over 50 years of age, or have a health condition that may restrict your future participation in healthcare plans, you may wish to consult an insurance specialist about unique coverage needs before your departure. The Peace Corps will provide all necessary healthcare from the time you leave for your pre-departure orientation until you complete your service. When you finish, you will be entitled to the post-service healthcare benefits described in the Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook. You may wish to consider keeping an existing health plan in effect during your service if you think age and/or pre-existing conditions might prevent you from re-enrolling in your current plan when you return home.
Safety and Security—Our Partnership
Serving as a Volunteer overseas entails certain safety and security risks. Living and traveling in an unfamiliar environment, a limited understanding of the local language and culture, and the perception of being a wealthy American are some of the factors that can put a Volunteer at risk. Property thefts and burglaries are not uncommon. Incidents of physical and sexual assault do occur, although almost all Volunteers complete their two years of service without serious personal safety problems. In addition, more than 84 percent of Volunteers surveyed in the 2004 Peace Corps Volunteer Survey say they would join the Peace Corps again.
The Peace Corps approaches safety and security as a partnership with you. This Welcome Book contains sections on: Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyle; Peace Corps Training; and Your Health Care and Safety. All of these sections include important safety and security information.
The Peace Corps makes every effort to give Volunteers the tools they need to function in the safest and most secure way possible, because working to maximize the safety and security of Volunteers is our highest priority. Not only do we provide you with training and tools to prepare for the unexpected, but we teach you to identify and manage the risks you may encounter.
Factors that Contribute to Volunteer Risk
There are several factors that can heighten a Volunteer’s risk, many of which are within the Volunteer’s control.
Based on information gathered from incident reports worldwide in 2004, the following factors stand out as risk characteristics for assaults. Assaults consist of personal crimes committed against Volunteers, and do not include property crimes (such as vandalism or theft).
- Location: Most crimes occurred when Volunteers were in public areas (e.g., street, park, beach, public buildings). Specifically, 43 percent of assaults took place when Volunteers were away from their sites.
- Time of day: Assaults usually took place on the weekend during the evening between 5:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m.— with most assaults occurring around 1:00 a.m.
- Absence of others: Assaults usually occurred when the Volunteer was unaccompanied. In 82 percent of the sexual assaults the Volunteer was unaccompanied and in 55 percent of physical assaults the Volunteer was unaccompanied.
- Relationship to assailant: In most assaults, the Volunteer did not know the assailant.
- Consumption of alcohol: Forty percent of all assaults involved alcohol consumption by Volunteers and/or assailants.
Summary Strategies to Reduce Risk
Before and during service, your training will address these areas of concern so that you can reduce the risks you face.
For example, here are some strategies Volunteers employ:
Strategies to reduce the risk/impact of theft:
- Know the environment and choose safe routes/times for travel
- Avoid high-crime areas per Peace Corps guidance
- Know the vocabulary to get help in an emergency
- Carry valuables in different pockets/places
- Carry a “dummy” wallet as a decoy Strategies to reduce the risk/impact of burglary:
- Live with a local family or on a family compound
- Put strong locks on doors and keep valuables in a lock box or trunk
- Leave irreplaceable objects at home in the U.S.
- Follow Peace Corps guidelines on maintaining home security
Strategies to reduce the risk/impact of assault:
- Make local friends
- Make sure your appearance is respectful of local customs; don’t draw negative attention to yourself by wearing inappropriate clothing
- Get to know local officials, police, and neighbors
- Travel with someone whenever possible
- Avoid known high crime areas
- Limit alcohol consumption
Support from Staff
In March 2003, the Peace Corps created the Office of Safety and Security with its mission to “foster improved communication, coordination, oversight, and accountability of all Peace Corps’ safety and security efforts.” The new office is led by an Associate Director for Safety and Security who reports to the Peace Corps Director and includes the following divisions: Volunteer Safety and Overseas Security; Information and Personnel Security; Emergency Preparedness, Plans, Training and Exercise; and Crime Statistics and Analysis.
The major responsibilities of the Volunteer Safety and Overseas Security Division are to coordinate the office’s overseas operations and direct the Peace Corps’ safety and security officers who are located in various regions around the world that have Peace Corps programs. The safety and security officers conduct security assessments; review safety trainings; train trainers and managers; train Volunteer safety wardens, local guards, and staff; develop security incident response procedures; and provide crisis management support.
If a trainee or Volunteer is the victim of a safety incident, Peace Corps staff is prepared to provide support. All Peace Corps posts have procedures in place to respond to incidents of crime committed against Volunteers. The first priority for all posts in the aftermath of an incident is to ensure that the Volunteer is safe and receiving medical treatment as needed. After assuring the safety of the Volunteer, Peace Corps staff provides support by reassessing the Volunteer’s work site and housing arrangements and making any adjustments, as needed. In some cases, the nature of the incident may necessitate a site or housing transfer. Peace Corps staff will also assist Volunteers with preserving their rights to pursue legal sanctions against the perpetrators of the crime. It is very important that Volunteers report incidents as they occur, not only to protect their peer Volunteers, but also to preserve the future right to prosecute. Should Volunteers decide later in the process that they want to proceed with the prosecution of their assailant, this option may no longer exist if the evidence of the event has not been preserved at the time of the incident.
The country-specific data chart below shows the incidence rates and the average number of incidents of the major types of safety incidents reported by Peace Corps Volunteers/ trainees in Ghana as compared to all other Africa region programs as a whole, from 2001–2005. It is presented to you in a somewhat technical manner for statistical accuracy.
To fully appreciate the collected data below, an explanation of the graph is provided as follows:
The incidence rate for each type of crime is the number of crime events relative to the Volunteer/trainee population. It is expressed on the chart as a ratio of crime to Volunteer and trainee years (or V/T years, which is a measure of 12 full months of V/T service) to allow for a statistically valid way to compare crime data across countries. An “incident” is a specific offense, per Peace Corps’ classification of offenses, and may involve one or more Volunteer/trainee victims. For example, if two Volunteers are robbed at the same time and place, this is classified as one robbery incident.
The chart is separated into eight crime categories. These include vandalism (malicious defacement or damage of property); theft (taking without force or illegal entry); burglary (forcible entry of a residence); robbery (taking something by force); minor physical assault (attacking without a weapon with minor injuries); minor sexual assault (fondling, groping, etc.); aggravated assault (attacking with a weapon, and/or without a weapon when serious injury results); and rape (sexual intercourse without consent).
When anticipating Peace Corps Volunteer service, you should review all of the safety and security information provided to you, including the strategies to reduce risk. Throughout your training and Volunteer service, you will be expected to successfully complete all training competencies in a variety of areas including safety and security. Once in-country, use the tools and information shared with you to remain as safe and secure as possible.
What if you become a victim of a violent crime?
Few Peace Corps Volunteers are victims of violent crimes. The Peace Corps will give you information and training in how to be safe. But, just as in the U.S., crime happens, and Volunteers can become victims. When this happens, the investigative team of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) is charged with helping pursue prosecution of those who perpetrate a violent crime against a Volunteer. If you become a victim of a violent crime, the decision to prosecute or not to prosecute is entirely yours, and one of the tasks of the OIG is to make sure that you are fully informed of your options and help you through the process and procedures involved in going forward with prosecution should you wish to do so. If you decide to prosecute, we are here to assist you in every way we can.
Crimes that occur overseas, of course, are investigated and prosecuted by local authorities in local courts. Our role is to coordinate the investigation and evidence collection with the regional security officers (RSOs) at the U.S. embassy, local police, and local prosecutors and others to ensure that your rights are protected to the fullest extent possible under the laws of the country. OIG investigative staff has extensive experience in criminal investigation, in working sensitively with victims, and as advocates for victims. We also, may, in certain limited circumstances, arrange for the retention of a local lawyer to assist the local public prosecutor in making the case against the individual who perpetrated the violent crime.
If you do become a victim of a violent crime, first, make sure you are in a safe place and with people you trust and second, contact the country director or the Peace Corps medical officer. Immediate reporting is important to the preservation of evidence and the chances of apprehending the suspect. Country directors and medical officers are required to report all violent crimes to the Inspector General and the RSO. This information is protected from unauthorized further disclosure by the Privacy Act. Reporting the crime also helps prevent your further victimization and protects your fellow Volunteers.
In conjunction with the RSO, the OIG does a preliminary investigation of all violent crimes against Volunteers regardless of whether the crime has been reported to local authorities or of the decision you may ultimately make to prosecute. If you are a victim of a crime, our staff will work with you through final disposition of the case. OIG staff is available 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week. We may be contacted through our 24-hour violent crime hotline via telephone at 202.692.2911, or by e-mail at violentcrimehotline@peacecorps. gov.
Security Issues in Ghana
When it comes to your safety and security in the Peace Corps, you have to be willing to adapt your behavior and lifestyle to minimize the potential for being a target of crime. As with anywhere in the world, crime does exist in Ghana. You can reduce your risk of becoming a target for crime by avoiding situations that make you feel uncomfortable and by taking advance precautions. Crime at the village or town level is less frequent than in the large cities; people know each other and generally will not steal from their neighbors. Tourist attractions, especially in large towns, are the favorite work sites for pickpockets. Safety concerns in Ghana you should be aware of include pickpockets; thieves breaking and entering; backpacks, bags and purses being stolen or broken into while traveling; and bags, purses and backpacks being ripped off by people driving by in vehicles (especially in Accra).
Staying Safe: Don’t Be a Target for Crime
You must be prepared to take on a large responsibility for your own safety. Only you can make yourself less of a target, ensure that your house is secure, and develop relations in your community that will make you an unlikely victim of crime. In coming to Ghana, do what you would do if you moved to a large city in the United States: Be cautious, check things out, ask a lot of questions, learn about your neighborhood, know where the more risky locations are, use common sense, and be aware. You can reduce your vulnerability to crime by integrating into your community, learning the local language, acting responsibly, and abiding by Peace Corps policies and procedures. Serving safely and effectively in Ghana may require that you accept some restrictions to your current lifestyle.
Volunteers attract a lot of attention in large cities and in their sites but receive far more negative attention in highly populated centers where they are anonymous. In smaller towns, “family,” friends, and colleagues will look out for them. While whistles and exclamations are fairly common on the street, this behavior can be reduced if you dress conservatively, avoid eye contact, and do not respond to such negative and unwanted attention. Other methods have helped Volunteers avoid becoming targets of unwanted attention and crime. Keep your money out of sight by using an undergarment money pouch, such as the kind that hangs around your neck and stays hidden under your shirt or inside your coat. Do not keep your money in outside pockets of backpacks, in coat pockets, or in fanny packs. During nighttime outings always walk with a companion.
Crimes resulting in personal injury (e.g., robbery, mugging, rape) are, regrettably, a fact of life, both in the United States and abroad. As an American in Africa, you stand out, and as a newcomer, you are less skilled in discerning unsafe places or situations. Also, because you have chosen to be a Volunteer, you have demonstrated your commitment to service and a basic trust in your fellow man. A few will try to take advantage of that. Be street smart, even if that street is a dirt path. Cultural sensitivity does not apply for thieves, thugs, or con artists. Recognize that you are considered “wealthy,” even though you may think otherwise. Recognize, too, that your personal possessions (e.g., watches, backpacks, and jewelry) can be the object of desire for others. Keep valuables attached to you beneath your clothing. Be aware and be cautious.
Preparing for the Unexpected: Safety Training and Volunteer Support in Ghana
The Peace Corps’ approach to safety is a five-pronged plan to help you stay safe during your two-year service and includes the following: Information sharing; Volunteer training; site selection criteria; a detailed emergency action plan; and protocols for reporting and responding to safety and security incidents. Ghana’s in-country safety program is outlined below.
The Peace Corps/Ghana office will keep Volunteers informed of any issues that may impact Volunteer safety through information sharing. Regular updates will be provided in Volunteer newsletters and in memoranda from the country director. In the event of a critical situation or emergency, Volunteers will be contacted through the emergency communication network.
Volunteer training will include sessions to prepare you for specific safety and security issues in Ghana. This training will prepare you to adopt a culturally appropriate lifestyle and exercise judgment that promotes safety and reduces risk in your home, at work, and while traveling. Safety training is offered throughout your two-year service and is integrated into the language, cross-cultural, health, and other components of training.
Certain site selection criteria are used to determine safe housing for Volunteers before their arrival. Peace Corps staff works closely with host communities and counterpart agencies to help prepare them for the Volunteer’s arrival and to establish expectations of their respective role in supporting the Volunteer. Each site is inspected before the Volunteer’s arrival to ensure placement in appropriate, safe, and secure housing and work sites. Site selection criteria are based in part on any relevant site history; access to medical, banking, postal, and other essential services; availability of communications, transportation, and markets; different housing options and living arrangements; and other support needs.
You will also learn about the country’s detailed emergency action plan, in the event of civil or political unrest or a natural disaster. When you arrive at your site, you will complete and submit a site locator form with your address, contact information, and a map to your house. If there is a security threat, Volunteers in Ghana will gather at pre-determined locations until the situation resolves itself or the Peace Corps decides to evacuate.
Finally, in order to be fully responsive to the needs of Volunteers, it is imperative that Volunteers immediately report any security incident to the Peace Corps safety and security coordinator and/or medical officer. The Peace Corps has established protocols for addressing safety and security incidents in a timely and appropriate manner. In addition to responding to the needs of the Volunteer, the Peace Corps collects and evaluates safety and security data to track trends and develop strategies to minimize risks to future Volunteers.