The Health of the Volunteer

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The Health of the Volunteer is an annual report published by the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of the Peace Corps Office of Medical Services (OMS), which contains information on health conditions experienced by Peace Corps Volunteers and trainees during the preceding calendar year. The report reflects OMS’s mission to monitor and evaluate trends in health conditions of Peace Corps Volunteers and trainees. It provides Peace Corps Medical Officers (PCMOs), Volunteers, and agency staff with information on global and regional health conditions and trends in order to focus prevention efforts. The most current report is The Health of the Volunteer 2008. You can also view health care and safety by country.

Data analysis[edit]

Incidence Rates[edit]

Incidence refers to the number of new cases of a disease or condition. An incidence rate is the proportion of new cases within a population at risk. These rates are usually multiplied by a constant (100, 1,000, or 10,000) to transform them into a number larger than one.

In The Health of the Volunteer, incidence rates are expressed as rates per 100 VT years. These rates are calculated by dividing the number of new cases of disease by the total number of Volunteer-trainee years (VT years) served in the year being studied and then multiplying by 100.

In these calculations the number of cases is used and not the number of Volunteers. In some instances, such as acute diarrhea, a Volunteer may experience multiple cases of a disease during a year. In these instances each case has been counted separately.

Volunteer-trainee Years[edit]

Volunteer-trainee years (VT years) were first used in The Health of the Volunteer in 1998. Since arriving and departing Volunteers often serve less than the full calendar year, VT years include only the length of time each Volunteer and trainee actually served. Incidence rates calculated using VT years are more accurate than incidence rates using the number Volunteers as the denominator because VT years consider both the number of individuals and the length of time they were at risk.

Female Volunteer-trainee Years[edit]

Rates for pregnancy and gynecological infections are given per 100 female VT years. Since these two conditions affect only females, male Volunteers have been excluded from the denominator in these calculations.


Past Reports[edit]

The Health of the Volunteer 2008
The Health of the Volunteer 2007
The Health of the Volunteer 2006
The Health of the Volunteer 2005
The Health of the Volunteer 2004
The Health of the Volunteer 2003
The Health of the Volunteer 2002
The Health of the Volunteer 2001

Reports prior to 1987 do not exist. The Fourth Quarter 1991 Report, Epidemiological Surveillance System, the former name of the Health of the Volunteer report, is located at National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in College Park, Maryland. Previously, there used to be a combined Health and Safety of the Volunteer report.

(Note: All documents were obtained from Peace Corps, by request, using the Freedom of Information Act and are in public domain)

See also[edit]

The Safety of the Volunteer
Medical Clearance System