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SAFETI Adaptation Of Peace Corps Resources
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Other Common Helath Problems
SAFETI Adaptation of Peace Corps Resources:
Pre–Departure Health Training Handbook
Other Common Helath Problems

Adapted from "Other Common Health Problems" module, Pre-Service Health Training for Volunteer Binder, Peace Corps Office of Medical Services


  • Provide an introduction to recognition, self -care and early medical treatment of common illnesses among students.
  • Familiarize students with the use of health resources available.
  • Describe common illnesses which are self-limited and/or appropriate for self treatment.
  • Develop an awareness of illnesses which are serious, requiring evaluation by trained medical personnel.
  • Explain the differences between viral, bacterial, parasitic and fungal diseases.
  • Explore the implications of "treatable" and "non-treatable" conditions.
  • Provide a brief introduction to endemic, "tropical" illnesses.


Students must assume considerable responsibility for their health during their time abroad. In some programs, isolation and limited local health care facilities require that they be more self-reliant, making decisions about their illnesses with the resources at hand, making the decision to travel to the closest local health facility. In other programs, modern local health facilities may be available, but students may have a difficult time communicating in the local language and understanding how health care is provided in that country.

Just as in the U.S., many illnesses are minor, self-limited, and require only symptomatic treatment or no treatment at all. Enhancing the student's self- confidence regarding his/her health will minimize anxieties, improve the chances of recognizing serious illnesses early, and assist students in seeking help at the appropriate time.

Students are generally unfamiliar with "new" illnesses, "tropical" diseases and illness endemic in the developing world for which they are at risk. Providing a general overview will be helpful in prevention and interesting to students. It is also important to introduce students to other resources and to have them meet with a physician or health professional to discuss health issues prior to participating in study abroad.

Adapted from "Other Common Health Problems" module, Pre-Service Health Training for Volunteer Binder, Peace Corps Office of Medical Services