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Peace Corps Volunteers work in health projects providing maternal and child health services, nutrition and hygiene messages, organizational support at community clinics, and education about prevention of infections and vaccine-preventable diseases. Volunteers also help expand access to clean water and improve sanitation by advising communities how to build and maintain wells and latrines. By focusing on prevention, human capacity building, and education, Peace Corps Volunteers help improve basic healthcare at the grassroots level, where their impact can be the most significant and where health needs are most pressing. In helping communities take more responsibility for their own healthcare, Volunteers work to ensure the sustainability of their projects.
In addition to working on basic health issues, Volunteers address the impact from the global pandemic of HIV/AIDS. Volunteers in HIV/AIDS education and prevention train youth as peer educators, collaborate with community leaders to develop appropriate education strategies, provide support to children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, and develop programs that provide support to families and communities affected by the disease. Volunteers do not provide direct medical care.
The majority of Peace Corps Volunteers serving in health programs have a bachelor's degree (which can be in any discipline) and experience in health-related activities or a degree in health education, nutrition, dietetics, or another health-related discipline. Some applicants have a master's degree in public health, and some are registered nurses, physician's assistants, counselors, or teachers.
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Volunteers raise awareness for health education.
Public Health Education
Volunteers teach public health in classrooms and model methodologies and subjects for primary and secondary school teachers.
Water and Sanitation Extension
Volunteers help communities to provide hygiene education, potable-water storage facilities, and awareness of water and sanitation issues.
Countries with active Health programs
Ecuador's Community Health program has three main goals: Child and Maternal Health, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Environmental Health.
Resources for Health Volunteers
Peace Corps Manuals
The Child Health Manual: A New Beginning
Health Activities for Primary School Students
HIV/AIDS: Integrating Prevention and Care into your Sector
HIV/AIDS Training Resources Kit
Outreach: Materials on Crops and Gardening
Promoting Powerful People
Statistics and Theory
Roll Back Malaria Partnership
Hesperian Publications: Publishers of Where There is No Doctor, Where Women Have No Doctor, A Community Guide to Environmental Health and HIV, Health and Your Community among others.
Health currently represents 17% of the volunteer jobs, with a breakdown by subsector being:
Health Extension: 12%
Public Health Education: 3%
Water and Sanitation Extension: 3%
50% are in Africa
29% are in Latin America
6% are in North Africa and the Middle East
6% are in Pacific Islands
5% are in The Caribbean
4% are in Eastern Europe and Central Asia
1% are in Asia
Health Official US Peace Corps Website Public Health Administration: 1988-1992 Volunteers were assigned to a Health Zone to put management systems in place for the zone and the community health centers in their district. the first viable post was in Kimpese, Bas-Congo.
International Health Women for World Health is an international health organization that focuses on improving the quality of life of people from impoverished countries through medical and surgical missions.