Difference between pages "Costa Rica" and "Health care and safety in Uganda"

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{{CountryboxAlternative
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{{Health_care_and_safety_by_country}}
|Countryname= Costa Rica
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|CountryCode = cs
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|status= [[ACTIVE]]
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|Flag= Flag_of_Costa_Rica.svg
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|Welcomebooklink = http://www.peacecorps.gov/welcomebooks/crwb515.pdf
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|Region= [[Central America and Mexico]]
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|CountryDirector= [[Steven Dorsey]]
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|Program & Training Officer = [[Amanda Rabinowitz]]
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|Sectors= [[Rural Community Development]]<br> ([[APCD]]: [[Moises Leon]])<br> [[Youth Development]] <br>([[APCD]]: [[Carolina Suarez]])<br> [[Micro-Enterprise Development]] <br>([[APCD]]: [[Luis Mata]])
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|ProgramDates= [[1963]] - [[Present]]
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|CurrentlyServing=
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|TotalVolunteers= 3148
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|Languages= [[Spanish]]
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|Map= Cs-map.gif
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|stagingdate= Oct 4 2010
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|stagingcity= Washington, DC
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}}
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Since 1963, Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Costa Rica in a variety of projects including health, education, environment, agriculture, small business development, and youth development. During Peace Corps' history in Costa Rica, its projects have changed to respond and adapt to the needs and challenges of Costa Rica and its people.
 
  
In many respects, Costa Rica has attained impressive levels of social and economic development, manifesting a high level of material progress. However, under this surface, growing social ills threaten to diminish the country's gains in education, democracy, and healthcare. Peace Corps' presence in Costa Rica focuses on addressing the needs of the most vulnerable populations throughout the country strengthening agencies and communities to serve these populations.
 
  
Costa Rica has three projects functioning at this time, rural community development, children, youth, and families, and micro enterprise development. The youth project aims to increase educational and training opportunities for youth, youth organizations, and community volunteers by strengthening the institutional capacity and community outreach of Costa Rica's Ministry of Child Welfare, PANI (Patronato Nacional de la Infancia). The rural community development project focuses on: organizational strengthening of local associations, development committees and other groups; increasing economic opportunities in the rural areas, especially for women's groups and rural youth; on educational enrichment activities with children, youth and adults in collaboration with the National Office of Community Development.  
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The 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. The Peace Corps in Uganda maintains a clinic with two part-time medical officers, who take care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. Additional medical services, such as testing and basic treatment, are also available in Uganda. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported either to a medical facility in the region or to the United States.  
  
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===Health Issues in Uganda ===
  
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Major health problems among Volunteers in Uganda are rare and are often the result of Volunteers’ not taking preventive measures to stay healthy. The most common health problems in Uganda are relatively minor ones that are also found in the United States, such as colds, diarrhea, skin infections, headaches, dental problems, adjustment disorders, and alcohol abuse. These problems may be more frequent or compounded by life in Uganda because certain environmental factors in the country raise the risk or exacerbate the severity of illnesses and injuries.
  
==Peace Corps History==
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The most serious health concerns are malaria, HIV/AIDS, and traffic accidents. Because malaria is endemic in Uganda, taking antimalarial pills is mandated by Peace Corps. Diarrheal diseases are also common, but can be avoided by regularly washing your hands, thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables, and either boiling your drinking water or using the water purification tablets issued in your medical kit. You will be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, meningitis A and C, tetanus, diphtheria, typhoid, and rabies.
  
''Main article: [[History of the Peace Corps in Costa Rica]]''
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===Helping You Stay Healthy ===
  
Since 1963, more than 2,200 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Costa Rica in a variety of projects in the areas of health, education, the environment, community development, agriculture, small business development, and youth development. Throughout the program’s existence in Costa Rica, Volunteers have been consistently well received by the Costa Rican people and local counterpart agencies.
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The Peace Corps will provide you with all the necessary inoculations, medications, and information to stay healthy. Upon your arrival in Uganda, you will receive a medical handbook. At the end of training, you will receive a medical kit with supplies to take care of mild illnesses and first-aid needs. The contents of the kit are listed later in this chapter.  
  
The children, youth, and families project was the primary sector of the Peace Corps/Costa Rica program from 1998 through 2002. In 2003, a second project in rural community development began; it focuses on the poorest rural communities in the country. And now in 2005, we are opening a third project in the area of micro-enterprise development to address the needs of a mostly rural population.  
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During pre-service training, you will have access to basic medical supplies from your medical kit or through the medical officer. However, 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 shipments to arrive.  
  
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You will have physicals at midservice and at the end of your service. If you acquire a serious medical condition during your service, the medical officer in Uganda will consult with the Office of Medical Services in Washington, D.C. If it is determined that your condition cannot be treated in Uganda, you may be sent out of the country for further evaluation and care.
  
==Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles==
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===Maintaining Your Health ===
  
''Main article: [[Living Conditions and Volunteer Lifestyles in Costa Rica]]''
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As a Volunteer, you must accept considerable responsibility for your own health. Proper precautions will significantly reduce your risk of serious illness or injury. The old adage “An ounce of prevention …” becomes extremely important in areas where diagnostic and treatment facilities are not up to the standards of the United States. The most important of your responsibilities in Uganda is to take preventive measures for the following:
  
Currently, there are Volunteers in all parts of the country: the Central Valley, Limón on the Caribbean coast, Puntarenas on the Pacific coast, as far north as Los Chiles near the Nicaraguan border, and as far south as Paso Canoas on the Panama border. While sites vary in size, climate, and distance to downtown San José (from 20 minutes to eight hours by bus), each has been preselected by the Peace Corps in consultation with relevant host country agencies as being a community where a Volunteer will find plenty of work opportunities and support.
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As mentioned above, malaria is a major health issue in Uganda. The most important step in preventing malaria and many other tropical diseases is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and other insects. The best way to avoid insect bites is to sleep under a treated mosquito net provided by Peace Corps, wear long sleeves and long trousers whenever possible (especially when outside at night), use insect repellent, and make sure windows have some kind of screen. Since no one can entirely prevent insect bites, you must also take antimalarial pills.  
  
Volunteers in the children, youth, and families project live in urban, semi-urban, or rural communities. While Volunteers in the community development and micro-enterprise development projects will live in rural/semi-rural communities. Volunteers in urban sites usually have access via a short bus ride to services such as banks, post offices, and hospitals. Volunteers in more rural areas have to take a longer bus ride to the nearest large town to mail letters or cash checks. Some sites are converted squatter settlements made up of a combination of tin and wood shacks, but most sites have recently built two- or three-room cement block buildings with corrugated steel roofs. All Volunteer houses have cold running water and electricity, and most have phones. In all communities, you will find a church, a school, and general stores (pulperías) that sell staples such as rice, black beans, tuna, soap, soft drinks, and snack food.
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Rabies is prevalent throughout Uganda, so you will receive a series of immunizations against it after you arrive. If you are exposed to an animal that is known to have or suspected of having rabies, inform the medical officer at once so that you can receive post-exposure booster shots. Be wary of all unknown animals and of behavior changes in known animals.  
  
During training, you will live with a family selected by the training staff in one of several training communities. During your first year of service, you are also required to live with a family in your assigned community. This promotes your integration into the community, increases your language skills, and helps ensure your safety. The families are recommended by community leaders and approved by your program manager. Requests to live independently during the second year are approved on a case-by-case basis.
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Many diseases that afflict Volunteers worldwide are entirely preventable if proper food and water precautions are taken. Your medical officer will discuss specific standards for water and food preparation in Uganda during pre-service training.  
  
The family you stay with, which is likely to include children, will probably have a home modest in size and comfort. While the Peace Corps requests that Volunteers be given their own room, you may find that its walls do not reach the ceiling or are very thin. It is important to remember that the concept of individual space in Costa Rica is different from that in America. While some Volunteers find living with a family frustrating at times, they also concede that it is an enriching way to experience a new culture and develop an awareness of its values.
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AIDS and other STDs are far more common in Uganda than in the United States. Abstinence is the only certain choice forpreventing infection with HIV and other STDs. You are takingrisks if you choose to be sexually active. To lessen risk, use acondom every time you have sex. Whether your partner is ahost country citizen, a fellow Volunteer, or anyone else, do notassume this person is free of HIV/AIDS or other STDs. You will receive more information from the medical officer about this important issue.  
  
While you will find most Costa Rican people to be kind and good, communities also have members with a variety of problems, including substance abuse and alcoholism, low income, single parenthood, child abuse, high unemployment, and delinquency. Therefore your safety is of major concern, and you will have to adjust and conform to different norms of behavior and take continual precautions to maximize your safety. (The Health Care and Safety chapter provides more information on this important issue.)
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Volunteers are expected to adhere to an effective means of birth control to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Your medical officer can help you decide on the most appropriate method to suit your individual needs. Contraceptive methods are
  
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available without charge from the medical officer.
  
==Training==
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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 illnesses and injuries.
  
''Main article: [[Training in Costa Rica]]''
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===Women’s Health Information ===
  
Pre-service training, which follows a community-based training model, lasts for 11 weeks. Training communities are selected based on whether they meet certain safety and health requirements and allow trainees to carry out activities that help prepare them for their work. Approximately three to five trainees are placed in each of several communities around the capital city, San José, where they live with a host family. A language and cultural facilitator works closely with each group of trainees, providing formal language classes in trainees’ homes or in another suitable space in the community and practice-based instruction outside of the classroom. Advanced or native Spanish speakers participate in an alternative program that accommodates their particular needs.
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Pregnancy is treated in the same manner as other Volunteer health conditions that require medical attention but 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 during pregnancy can be met.  
  
All trainees are assigned integrated training activities, to be completed independently or with assistance from the language and cultural facilitators or members of the community. Trainees are responsible for scheduling the activities and determining what kind of support and resources they need in order to complete them. This neighborhood-based, experiential training is complemented by classroom-based technical, cultural, and health and safety training. On Fridays and some Saturdays, all trainees and staff meet at the Peace Corps office for seminars on the particular training “theme” that serves as a framework for determining weekly activities and as a guide for language instruction.
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Feminine hygiene products are available for purchase in larger towns. The medical officer will provide Tampax or o.b.  tampons on request, but sanitary pads must be purchased locally. If you require feminine hygiene products other than these, please bring a supply with you.  
  
The training program include a group field trip to observe functioning projects, a visit to a Volunteer’s site, and one trip to trainees’ future sites, during which trainees begin planning for their future assignments.
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===Your Peace Corps Medical Kit ===
  
==Your Health Care and Safety==
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The Peace Corps medical officer provides Volunteers with a medical kit that contains basic items necessary to prevent and treat illnesses that may occur during service. Kit items can be periodically restocked at the medical office.
  
''Main article: [[Health Care and Safety in Costa Rica]]''
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====Medical Kit Contents ====
  
The 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. The Peace Corps in Costa Rica maintains a health unit with a full-time medical officer, who takes care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. Medical services may include hospitalization at authorized facilities that are located in the capital city. If you become seriously ill or the resources in-country are insufficient, the Office of Medical Services at Peace Corps headquarters may decide to medically evacuate you to the United States for further care or treatment.
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Ace bandages <br>
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Adhesive tape  <br>
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First Aid & Safety Handbook  <br>
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Antacid tablets (Tums)  <br>
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Antibiotic ointment (Bacitracin/Neomycin/Polymycin B)  <br>
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Anti malarial medication  <br>
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Antiseptic antimicrobial skin cleaner (Hibiclens)  <br>
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Band-Aids  <br>
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Butterfly closures  <br>
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Cepacol lozenges  <br>
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Condoms  <br>
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Dental floss  <br>
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Diphenhydramine HCL 25&nbsp;mg (Benadryl)  <br>
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Hydrocortisone cream  <br>
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Ibuprofen 400&nbsp;mg tabs  <br>
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Insect repellent  <br>
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Iodine tablets (for water purification)  <br>
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Lip balm (Chapstick)  <br>
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Oral rehydration salts  <br>
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Oral thermometer (Fahrenheit)  <br>
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Pseudoephedrine HCL 30&nbsp;mg (Sudafed)  <br>
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Robitussin-DM lozenges (for cough)  <br>
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Scissors  <br>
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Sterile gauze pads  <br>
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Tetrahydrozaline eyedrops (Visine)  <br>
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Tinactin (antifungal cream)  <br>
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Tylenol 325&nbsp;mg tabs  <br>
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Tweezers  <br>
  
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==Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues==
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===Before You Leave: A Medical Checklist ===
  
''Main article: [[Diversity and Cross-Cultural Issues in Costa Rica]]''
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If there has been any change in your health—physical, mental, or dental—since 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.
  
In Costa Rica, as in other Peace Corps host countries, Volunteers’ behavior, lifestyle, background, and beliefs are judged in a cultural context very different from their own. Certain personal perspectives or characteristics commonly accepted in the United States may be quite uncommon, unacceptable, or even repressed in Costa Rica.
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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.  
  
Outside of Costa Rica’s capital, residents of rural communities have had relatively little direct exposure to other cultures, races, religions, and lifestyles. What people view as typical American behavior or norms may be a misconception, such as the belief that all Americans are rich and have blond hair and blue eyes. The people of Costa Rica are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners; however, members of the community in which you will live may display a range of reactions to cultural differences that you present.
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If you wish to avoid having duplicate vaccinations, 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 pre-departure orientation or shortly after you arrive in Uganda. You will be given your first dose of antimalarial medication prior to departure.  
  
To ease the transition and adapt to life in Costa Rica, you may need to make some temporary, yet fundamental compromises in how you present yourself as an American and as an individual. For example, female trainees and Volunteers may not be able to exercise the independence available to them in the United States; political discussions need to be handled with great care; and some of your personal beliefs may best remain undisclosed. You will need to develop techniques and personal strategies for coping with these and other limitations. The Peace Corps staff will lead diversity and sensitivity discussions during your pre-service training and will be on call to provide support, but the challenge ultimately will be your own.  
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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 nonprescribed medications, such as St. John’s wort, glucosamine, selenium, or antioxidant supplements.  
  
* Possible Issues for Female Volunteers
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You are encouraged to bring copies of medical prescriptions signed by your physician. This is not a requirement, but they might come in handy if you are questioned in transit about carrying a three-month supply of prescription drugs.
* Possible Issues for Male Volunteers
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* Possible Issues for Volunteers of Color
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* Possible Issues for Senior Volunteers
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* Possible Issues for Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Volunteers
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* Possible Religious Issues for Volunteers
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* Possible Issues for Volunteers With Disabilities
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==Frequently Asked questions==
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If you wear eyeglasses, bring two pairs with you—a pair and a spare. If a pair breaks, the Peace Corps will replace it, using the information your doctor in the United States provided on the eyeglasses form during your examination. We discourage you from using contact lenses during your service to reduce your risk of developing a serious infection or other eye disease. Most Peace Corps countries do not have appropriate water and sanitation to support eye care with the use of
  
{{Volunteersurvey2008
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contact lenses. The Peace Corps will not supply or replace contact lenses or associated solutions unless an ophthalmologist has recommended their use for a specific medical condition and the Peace Corps’ Office of Medical Services has given approval. If you are eligible for Medicare, are 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 or preexisting conditions might prevent you from reenrolling in your current plan when you return home.  
|H1r=  12
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|H1s=  77.5
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|H2r=  5
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|H2s=  89.8
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|H3r=  12
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|H3s=  88.3
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|H4r=  35
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|H4s=  104.5
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|H5r=  16
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|H5s=  57
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|H6r=  15
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|H6s=  93
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}}
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''Main article: [[FAQs about Peace Corps in Costa Rica]]''
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===Safety and Security—Our Partnership ===
  
* How much luggage am I allowed to bring to Costa Rica?
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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.
* What is the electric current in Costa Rica?
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* How much money should I bring?
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* When can I take vacation and have people visit me?
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* Will my belongings be covered by insurance?
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* Do I need an international driver’s license?
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* What should I bring as gifts for Costa Rican friends and my host family?
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* Where will my site assignment be when I finish training and how isolated will I be?
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* How can my family contact me in an emergency?
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* Can I call home from Costa Rica?
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* Should I bring a cellular phone with me?
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* Will there be e-mail and Internet access? Should I bring my computer?
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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.
  
==Packing List==
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===Factors that Contribute to Volunteer Risk ===
  
''Main article: [[Packing List for Costa Rica]]''
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There are several factors that can heighten a Volunteer’s risk, many of which are within the Volunteer’s control.
  
This list has been compiled by Volunteers serving in Costa Rica and is based on their experience. Use it as an informal guide in making your own list, bearing in mind that experience is individual. There is no perfect list! You obviously cannot bring everything we mention, so consider those items that make the most sense to you personally and professionally. You can always purchase some things locally and have other things sent to you later. As you decide what to bring, keep in mind that you have an 80-pound weight restriction on baggage. And remember, you can get almost everything you need in Costa Rica.
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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).  
  
* General Clothing
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* 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.
* Shoes
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* 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.
* Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
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* 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.
* Peace Corps does not provide for these items
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* Relationship to assailant: In most assaults, the Volunteer did not know the assailant.
* Miscellaneous
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* 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.
* Items You Do Not Need to Bring
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==Peace Corps News==
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For example, here are some strategies Volunteers employ:
  
Current events relating to Peace Corps are also available by [[News | country of service]] or [[News by state|your home state]]
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Strategies to reduce the risk/impact of theft:
  
''The following is automatic RSS feed of Peace Corps news for this country.''<br><rss title=on desc=off>http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&scoring=n&q=%22peace+corps%22+%22costa+rica%22&output=rss|charset=UTF-8|short|date=M d</rss>
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* Know the environment and choose safe routes/times for travel
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* Avoid high-crime areas per Peace Corps guidance
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* Know the vocabulary to get help in an emergency
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* Carry valuables in different pockets/places
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* Carry a “dummy” wallet as a decoy Strategies to reduce the risk/impact of burglary:
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* Live with a local family or on a family compound
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* Put strong locks on doors and keep valuables in a lock box or trunk 
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* Leave irreplaceable objects at home in the U.S.  
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* Follow Peace Corps guidelines on maintaining home security Strategies to reduce the risk/impact of assault:
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* Make local friends
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* Make sure your appearance is respectful of local customs; don’t draw negative attention to yourself by wearing inappropriate clothing
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* Get to know local officials, police, and neighbors
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* Travel with someone whenever possible
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* Avoid known high crime areas
  
<br>'''[http://peacecorpsjournals.com PEACE CORPS JOURNALS]'''<br>''( As of {{CURRENTDAYNAME}} {{CURRENTMONTHNAME}} {{CURRENTDAY}}, {{CURRENTYEAR}} )''<rss title=off desc=off>http://peacecorpsjournals.com/rss/cs/blog/50.xml|charset=UTF-8|short|max=10</rss>
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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.  
  
==Country Fund==
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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.
  
Contributions made to the [https://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.donors.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=515-CFD Costa Rica Country Fund] will support Volunteers and their community partners with Children, Youth and Family; Community Economic Development; and Rural Community Development projects. The types of projects for which Volunteers and their communities solicit vary based on the unique needs and priorities of their communities. Common Costa Rica projects include: sports development camps and equipment, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention workshops, public infrastructure development including clinics and school playgrounds, classrooms, sports fields, libraries, and computer labs; and capacity building activities that develop knowledge and skills in one or more of the following areas: youth development, gender empowerment, business, fine arts, performing arts, music, English, information and communications technology, and life skills.
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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 Uganda 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.  
  
==See also==
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To fully appreciate the collected data below, an explanation of the graph is provided as follows:
* [[Volunteers who served in Costa Rica]]
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* [[Pre-Departure Checklist]]
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* [[List of resources for Costa Rica]]
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==External links==
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The incidence rate for each type of crime is the number of crime events relative to the Volunteer/trainee population.  
* [http://www.peacecorpsjournals.com/cs.html Peace Corps Journals - Costa Rica]
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* [http://www.thebusschedule.com/cr Bus schedule of Costa Rica]
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[[Category:Costa Rica]] [[Category:Central America and Mexico]]
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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
[[Category:Country]]
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System (ANSS) and Epidemiologic Surveillance System (ESS); the information is accurate as of 08/29/06. 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).
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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.
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===What if you become a victim of a violent crime? ===
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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 Uganda ===
 +
 
 +
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 Uganda. You can reduce your risk by avoiding situations that make you feel uncomfortable and by taking 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. Outdoor markets and bus stations in large towns, for instance, are favorite work sites for pickpockets.
 +
 
 +
In the recent past Kampala has had its own particular risks as the site of infrequent rebel activities, which are otherwise restricted to the far north or west. They have taken the form of small-scale attacks in busy, populated areas. Although no Volunteers have been harmed in these attacks, the potential for harm exists, and the Peace Corps program in Uganda was suspended in 1999 as a result of such attacks. With the program’s reopening in 2001, several program changes were made to enhance Volunteer safety and the sustainability of the program as a whole. One of these changes is that Volunteers placed outside of Kampala may not travel to Kampala without an official reason and without prior approval from their associate Peace Corps director or Peace Corps medical officer.
 +
 
 +
Several of Uganda’s national parks are located on the western border with Congo. Because the safety of this area varies as a result of rebel activity, it is generally off-limits to Volunteers and U.S. government employees. If you wish to plan a vacation trip to a national park while you are a Volunteer, the Peace Corps will need to evaluate the safety of traveling to some of these parks at the time you choose to travel.
 +
 
 +
===Staying Safe: Don’t Be a Target for Crime ===
 +
 
 +
You must be prepared to take on a large degree of 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 Uganda, do what you would do if you moved to a large city in the United States: Be cautious, check things out, ask 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 Uganda may require that you accept some restrictions on your current lifestyle.
 +
 
 +
Volunteers attract a lot of attention both in large cities and at their sites, but they are likely to receive more negative attention in highly populated centers than at their sites, where “family,” friends, and colleagues 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 unwanted attention. Keep your money out of sight by using an undergarment money pouch, 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. You should always walk with a companion at night. Preparing for the Unexpected: Safety Training and Volunteer Support in Uganda
 +
 
 +
 
 +
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 addressing safety and security incidents. Uganda’s in-country safety program is outlined below.
 +
 
 +
The Peace Corps/Uganda office will keep Volunteers informed of any issues that may impact Volunteer safety through information sharing. Regular updates will be provided in Volunteer news-letters and in memorandums 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 on specific safety and security issues in Uganda. 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 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. The Peace Corps staff works closely with host communities and counterpart agencies to help prepare them for a 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 is based in part on any relevant site history; access to banking, postal, and other essential services; availability of transportation and markets; different housing options and living arrangements; and other Volunteer support needs.
 +
 
 +
You will also learn about Peace Corps/Uganda’s detailed emergency action plan, which is implemented 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 Uganda will gather at predetermined locations until the situation is resolved or the Peace Corps decides to evacuate.
 +
 
 +
Finally, in order for the Peace Corps to be fully responsive to the needs of Volunteers, it is imperative that Volunteers immediately report any security incident to the Peace Corps medical officer. The Peace Corps has established protocols for addressing safety and security incidents in a timely and appropriate manner, and it collects and evaluates safety and security data to track trends and develop strategies to minimize risks to future Volunteers.
 +
 
 +
[[Category:Uganda]]
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[[Category:Health and Safety]]

Revision as of 19:50, 21 November 2011


Health care and safety in [[{{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |5}} {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |6}} {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |7}}]]
The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer and trainee. Medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative approach to disease.

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.

  • [[Packing list for {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |5}} {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |6}} {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |7}}]]
  • [[Training in {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |5}} {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |6}} {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |7}}]]
  • [[Living conditions and volunteer lifestyles in {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |5}} {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |6}} {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |7}}]]
  • [[Health care and safety in {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |5}} {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |6}} {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |7}}]]
  • [[Diversity and cross-cultural issues in {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |5}} {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |6}} {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |7}}]]
  • [[FAQs about Peace Corps in {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |5}} {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |6}} {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |7}}]]
  • [[History of the Peace Corps in {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |5}} {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |6}} {{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |7}}]]
|6}} [[Image:Flag_of_{{#explode:Health care and safety in Uganda| |5}}.svg|50px|none]]}}

See also:
Pre-Departure Checklist
Staging Timeline
The Health of the Volunteer The Safety of the Volunteer


The 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. The Peace Corps in Uganda maintains a clinic with two part-time medical officers, who take care of Volunteers’ primary healthcare needs. Additional medical services, such as testing and basic treatment, are also available in Uganda. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported either to a medical facility in the region or to the United States.

Health Issues in Uganda

Major health problems among Volunteers in Uganda are rare and are often the result of Volunteers’ not taking preventive measures to stay healthy. The most common health problems in Uganda are relatively minor ones that are also found in the United States, such as colds, diarrhea, skin infections, headaches, dental problems, adjustment disorders, and alcohol abuse. These problems may be more frequent or compounded by life in Uganda because certain environmental factors in the country raise the risk or exacerbate the severity of illnesses and injuries.

The most serious health concerns are malaria, HIV/AIDS, and traffic accidents. Because malaria is endemic in Uganda, taking antimalarial pills is mandated by Peace Corps. Diarrheal diseases are also common, but can be avoided by regularly washing your hands, thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables, and either boiling your drinking water or using the water purification tablets issued in your medical kit. You will be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, meningitis A and C, tetanus, diphtheria, typhoid, and rabies.

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 Uganda, you will receive a medical handbook. At the end of training, you will receive a medical kit with supplies to take care of mild illnesses and first-aid needs. The contents of the kit are listed later in this chapter.

During pre-service training, you will have access to basic medical supplies from your medical kit or through the medical officer. However, 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 shipments to arrive.

You will have physicals at midservice and at the end of your service. If you acquire a serious medical condition during your service, the medical officer in Uganda will consult with the Office of Medical Services in Washington, D.C. If it is determined that your condition cannot be treated in Uganda, you may be sent out of the country for further evaluation and care.

Maintaining Your Health

As a Volunteer, you must accept considerable responsibility for your own health. Proper precautions will significantly reduce your risk of serious illness or injury. The old adage “An ounce of prevention …” becomes extremely important in areas where diagnostic and treatment facilities are not up to the standards of the United States. The most important of your responsibilities in Uganda is to take preventive measures for the following:

As mentioned above, malaria is a major health issue in Uganda. The most important step in preventing malaria and many other tropical diseases is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and other insects. The best way to avoid insect bites is to sleep under a treated mosquito net provided by Peace Corps, wear long sleeves and long trousers whenever possible (especially when outside at night), use insect repellent, and make sure windows have some kind of screen. Since no one can entirely prevent insect bites, you must also take antimalarial pills.

Rabies is prevalent throughout Uganda, so you will receive a series of immunizations against it after you arrive. If you are exposed to an animal that is known to have or suspected of having rabies, inform the medical officer at once so that you can receive post-exposure booster shots. Be wary of all unknown animals and of behavior changes in known animals.

Many diseases that afflict Volunteers worldwide are entirely preventable if proper food and water precautions are taken. Your medical officer will discuss specific standards for water and food preparation in Uganda during pre-service training.

AIDS and other STDs are far more common in Uganda than in the United States. Abstinence is the only certain choice forpreventing infection with HIV and other STDs. You are takingrisks if you choose to be sexually active. To lessen risk, use acondom every time you have sex. Whether your partner is ahost country citizen, a fellow Volunteer, or anyone else, do notassume this person is free of HIV/AIDS or other STDs. You will receive more information from the medical officer about this important issue.

Volunteers are expected to adhere to an effective means of birth control to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Your medical officer can help you decide on the most appropriate method to suit your individual needs. Contraceptive methods are

available without charge from the medical officer.

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 illnesses and injuries.

Women’s Health Information

Pregnancy is treated in the same manner as other Volunteer health conditions that require medical attention but 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 during pregnancy can be met.

Feminine hygiene products are available for purchase in larger towns. The medical officer will provide Tampax or o.b. tampons on request, but sanitary pads must be purchased locally. If you require feminine hygiene products other than these, please bring a supply with you.

Your Peace Corps Medical Kit

The Peace Corps medical officer provides Volunteers with a medical kit that contains basic items necessary to prevent and treat illnesses that may occur during service. Kit items can be periodically restocked at the medical office.

Medical Kit Contents

Ace bandages
Adhesive tape
First Aid & Safety Handbook
Antacid tablets (Tums)
Antibiotic ointment (Bacitracin/Neomycin/Polymycin B)
Anti malarial medication
Antiseptic antimicrobial skin cleaner (Hibiclens)
Band-Aids
Butterfly closures
Cepacol lozenges
Condoms
Dental floss
Diphenhydramine HCL 25 mg (Benadryl)
Hydrocortisone cream
Ibuprofen 400 mg tabs
Insect repellent
Iodine tablets (for water purification)
Lip balm (Chapstick)
Oral rehydration salts
Oral thermometer (Fahrenheit)
Pseudoephedrine HCL 30 mg (Sudafed)
Robitussin-DM lozenges (for cough)
Scissors
Sterile gauze pads
Tetrahydrozaline eyedrops (Visine)
Tinactin (antifungal cream)
Tylenol 325 mg tabs
Tweezers


Before You Leave: A Medical Checklist

If there has been any change in your health—physical, mental, or dental—since 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 having duplicate vaccinations, 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 pre-departure orientation or shortly after you arrive in Uganda. You will be given your first dose of antimalarial medication prior to departure.

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 nonprescribed medications, such as St. John’s wort, glucosamine, selenium, or antioxidant supplements.

You are encouraged to bring copies of medical prescriptions signed by your physician. This is not a requirement, but they might come in handy if you are questioned in transit about carrying a 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, using the information your doctor in the United States provided on the eyeglasses form during your examination. We discourage you from using contact lenses during your service to reduce your risk of developing a serious infection or other eye disease. 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 an ophthalmologist has recommended their use for a specific medical condition and the Peace Corps’ Office of Medical Services has given approval. If you are eligible for Medicare, are 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 or preexisting conditions might prevent you from reenrolling 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 Uganda 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

System (ANSS) and Epidemiologic Surveillance System (ESS); the information is accurate as of 08/29/06. 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 Uganda

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 Uganda. You can reduce your risk by avoiding situations that make you feel uncomfortable and by taking 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. Outdoor markets and bus stations in large towns, for instance, are favorite work sites for pickpockets.

In the recent past Kampala has had its own particular risks as the site of infrequent rebel activities, which are otherwise restricted to the far north or west. They have taken the form of small-scale attacks in busy, populated areas. Although no Volunteers have been harmed in these attacks, the potential for harm exists, and the Peace Corps program in Uganda was suspended in 1999 as a result of such attacks. With the program’s reopening in 2001, several program changes were made to enhance Volunteer safety and the sustainability of the program as a whole. One of these changes is that Volunteers placed outside of Kampala may not travel to Kampala without an official reason and without prior approval from their associate Peace Corps director or Peace Corps medical officer.

Several of Uganda’s national parks are located on the western border with Congo. Because the safety of this area varies as a result of rebel activity, it is generally off-limits to Volunteers and U.S. government employees. If you wish to plan a vacation trip to a national park while you are a Volunteer, the Peace Corps will need to evaluate the safety of traveling to some of these parks at the time you choose to travel.

Staying Safe: Don’t Be a Target for Crime

You must be prepared to take on a large degree of 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 Uganda, do what you would do if you moved to a large city in the United States: Be cautious, check things out, ask 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 Uganda may require that you accept some restrictions on your current lifestyle.

Volunteers attract a lot of attention both in large cities and at their sites, but they are likely to receive more negative attention in highly populated centers than at their sites, where “family,” friends, and colleagues 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 unwanted attention. Keep your money out of sight by using an undergarment money pouch, 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. You should always walk with a companion at night. Preparing for the Unexpected: Safety Training and Volunteer Support in Uganda


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 addressing safety and security incidents. Uganda’s in-country safety program is outlined below.

The Peace Corps/Uganda office will keep Volunteers informed of any issues that may impact Volunteer safety through information sharing. Regular updates will be provided in Volunteer news-letters and in memorandums 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 on specific safety and security issues in Uganda. 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 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. The Peace Corps staff works closely with host communities and counterpart agencies to help prepare them for a 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 is based in part on any relevant site history; access to banking, postal, and other essential services; availability of transportation and markets; different housing options and living arrangements; and other Volunteer support needs.

You will also learn about Peace Corps/Uganda’s detailed emergency action plan, which is implemented 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 Uganda will gather at predetermined locations until the situation is resolved or the Peace Corps decides to evacuate.

Finally, in order for the Peace Corps to be fully responsive to the needs of Volunteers, it is imperative that Volunteers immediately report any security incident to the Peace Corps medical officer. The Peace Corps has established protocols for addressing safety and security incidents in a timely and appropriate manner, and it collects and evaluates safety and security data to track trends and develop strategies to minimize risks to future Volunteers.