Difference between pages "Home test 1" and "Health care and safety in Belize"

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The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. On your hotel, you may ask for a safe to secure your goods in case you will move to the beach. An Hotel safe ( [http://www.infosafe.fr/CoffresSecurite/coffre-fort-securite-sg160.htm coffre fort agréé infosafe] ) is perfect to store papers and few values, but not for big amounts of money. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative, approach to disease. The Peace Corps in Belize 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 Belize at local, American-standard hospitals. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported either to an American medical facility in the region or to the United States.  
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<div style="vertical-align:top; border:1px solid #adc687; background-color:#d3e5b8; padding:0.2em 0.5em 0.2em 0.5em; font-size:110%; font-weight:bold;">'''[[The_Peace_Corps'_Shortage_of_Applicants|Shortage of Applicants Empowers Prospective Volunteers]]'''</div>
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The Peace Corps touts how many initial “applications” it receives, but this is a cover for the fact that there is currently '''no surplus of medically qualified applicants'''. Only medically fit applicants can become Volunteers, so emphasizing the number of the initial “applicant” pool is irrelevant and misleading.
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Indeed, for the Peace Corps to tout the number of initial “applicants” – the number of applicants it receives before the medical screening process – is intentionally misleading. '''The Peace Corps knows that applicants might not be interested in joining the Peace Corps if they knew that the agency is having trouble filling its slots.'''
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===Health Issues in Belize===
  
'''The truth is that there is no selectivity at the Peace Corps''' – other than to determine if the applicant is ambulatory. 100% of the applicants who are medically fit are invited to training and service as a Volunteer.
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Volunteers generally enjoy good health while serving in Belize. The most common health problems among Volunteers are diarrhea, skin infections, dental problems, headaches, respiratory infections, minor injuries, and STIs. Most illnesses and accidents involving Volunteers are preventable and, to a considerable degree, under the Volunteer’s control. When someone does contract an illness, it is often because of poor health practices.  
  
'''This means that applicants who are medically fit have virtually unlimited leverage with the Peace Corps to control the placement process...'''
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But health problems also result from local environmental factors such as dust, humidity, insects, and disease-producing microorganisms. Exposure to tropical diseases like dengue fever, malaria, and hepatitis is possible, as well as being infected with intestinal parasites. There is also the potential for alcohol abuse.  
  
'''[[The_Peace_Corps'_Shortage_of_Applicants|Read More About the Shortage of Applicants]]'''
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Because malaria is endemic in Belize, you are required to take antimalarial pills. You will also be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B; tetanus and diphtheria; typhoid; rabies; and measles, mumps, and rubella.
  
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===Helping You Stay Healthy===
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<div style="border:1px solid #adc687; background-color:#d3e5b8; padding:0.2em 0.5em 0.2em 0.5em; font-size:110%; font-weight:bold;">'''[[The_Peace_Corps'_Early_Quit_Rates_Country-by-Country|Early Quit Rates Country-by-Country]]:
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Crucial Data for Applicants'''</div>
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One excellent indication of the health of a Peace Corps country program is its early quit rate, which is '''the percentage of Volunteers who do not complete their 26-27 month term of service'''. The Peace Corps refers to this as the Early Termination (ET) rate. With the ET rate, we see Volunteers talking with their feet about their experience in that program. If they quit early, an applicant should wonder about the quality of that program.
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The Peace Corps invites applicants to choose the country in which they prefer to serve. Peace Corps Wiki presents the ET rate data here on a country by country basis to enable applicants to make an informed choice.
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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 Belize, 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.  
  
'''Peace Corps Wiki recommends that applicants request to be sent to a country with a low ET rate.  
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During pre-service training, you will have access to basic medical supplies 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 the Peace Corps 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.  
  
Peace Corps Wiki recommends that applicants avoid any country with an ET rate of 30% or greater. They should be cautious about any country with an ET rate of more than 20%. They should request to be sent to a country with an ET rate of less than 20%.'''
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You will have physicals at midservice and at the end of your service. If you develop a serious medical problem during your service, the medical officer in Belize will consult with the Office of Medical Services in Washington, D.C. If it is determined that your condition cannot be treated in Belize, you may be sent out of the country for further evaluation and care.  
  
'''[[The_Peace_Corps'_Early_Quit_Rates_Country-by-Country|Read More About ET Rates]]'''
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===Maintaining Your Health===
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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 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 Belize is to take the following preventive measures:
  
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Many illnesses that afflict Volunteers worldwide can be avoided by proper water disinfection, safe preparation of food, careful selection of eating facilities, and good personal hygiene. Your medical officer will discuss specific standards for water and food preparation in Belize during pre-service training.  
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<div style="vertical-align:top; border:1px solid #adc687; background-color:#d3e5b8; padding:0.2em 0.5em 0.2em 0.5em; font-size:110%; font-weight:bold;">'''[[Peace_Corps_Survey_Rankings_Country-by-Country|Rankings from the Peace Corps Surveys of the Volunteers]]:
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Crucial Data for Applicants'''</div>
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One excellent indication of the health of a Peace Corps country program is '''the survey responses of the Volunteers'''. It is easy to take these rankings and rank the countries. With the rankings from the Volunteer surveys, applicants are empowered to request to be posted to a high ranked country.
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The Peace Corps invites applicants to choose the country in which they prefer to serve. Peace Corps Wiki presents the rankings from the survey data on a country by country basis to enable applicants to make an informed choice.
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Volunteers can protect themselves from bites from disease-carrying mosquitoes by using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved clothing when outdoors at night, sleeping under nets (provided by Peace Corps), and spraying permethrin in their bedroom when necessary.  
  
'''Peace Corps Wiki recommends that applicants request to be sent to a country with high ranked survey responses.
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Rabies is endemic in Belize, so you will receive a series of immunizations when 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.  
  
Peace Corps Wiki recommends that applicants avoid any country which is ranked in the bottom third of the surveys. They should be cautious about any country in the middle third. They should request to be sent to a country in the top third.''' 
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Abstinence is the only certain choice for prevention of HIV/ AIDS and other STIs. To lessen risk, use a condom every time you have sex. Whether your partner is a host country national, a fellow Volunteer, or anyone else, do not assume this person is free of HIV/AIDS or other STIs. You will receive more information from the medical officer about this important issue.  
  
'''[[Peace_Corps_Survey_Rankings_Country-by-Country|Read More About the Volunteer Survey Results]]'''
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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 available without charge from the medical officer.
  
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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 the medical officer know immediately of significant illnesses and injuries.  
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<div style="border:1px solid #adc687; background-color:#d3e5b8; padding:0.2em 0.5em 0.2em 0.5em; font-size:110%; font-weight:bold;">'''[[NPCA: Declining to Empower Applicants]]'''</div>
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Founded in 1979, NPCA has struggled financially because so few of the returned Volunteers find it in their interest to become members. As a consequence, '''the NPCA has become financially enmeshed with the Peace Corps''' and has no appetite to defend applicants and the Volunteers because this might jeopardize this financial life-line.  
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NPCA’s entanglement with the Peace Corps is clear: '''from 2003 to 2010 the Peace Corps provided $790,639.44 to the NPCA''' to pay for operating expenses. Source: FOIA Request Number 10-065. NPCA’s annual report for 2013 reveals NPCA’s financially vulnerable condition. Its membership revenues were only $198,120 compared to membership expenses of $147,962. It raised $247,137 in donations but its fundraising expenses were $102,097.
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===Women’s Health Information===
  
The bottom line is troubling: NPCA ran a deficit of $148,000. It comes then as no surprise that this annual report emphasizes the bottom line for NPCA: '''“A close and collaborative relationship with the Peace Corps is fundamental to our organizational goals.”''' NPCA won’t act to empower the applicants. It won’t defend the interests of the Volunteers in the field or press the Peace Corps to act more professionally in managing them. That’s too risky given its shaky finances and financial dependence on the Peace Corps.
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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.  
  
'''[[NPCA:_Declining_to_Empower_Peace_Corps_Volunteer_Applicants|Read More About the NPCA]]'''
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Feminine hygiene items are available in-country.
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===Your Peace Corps Medical Kit===
  
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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.
  
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====Medical Kit Contents====
  
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Ace bandages <br>
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Adhesive tape <br>
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American Red Cross First Aid & Safety Handbook <br>
<!-- *********************** RESOURCES ***************** -->
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Antacid tablets (Tums) <br>
<div style="vertical-align:top; border-bottom:1px solid #adc687; background-color:#d3e5b8; padding:0.2em 0.5em 0.2em 0.5em; font-size:110%; font-weight:bold;">'''[http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/Category:Resources Resources]'''</div>
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Antibiotic ointment (Bacitracin/Neomycin/Polymycin B) <br>
*[[Timeline|STAGING DATES]]
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Antifungal cream (Tinactin) <br>
*[[Advice for applicants]]
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Antiseptic antimicrobial skin cleaner (Hibiclens) <br>
*[[Application Process]]
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Band-Aids<br>
*[[Application Timelines]]
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Butterfly closures<br>
<!--*[[Calculator|Calculator(Placement)]]    -->
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Cepacol lozenges<br>
*[[Congressional Appropriations]]   
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Condoms<br>
*[[Volunteer discounts|Discounts for Volunteers]]   
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Dental floss<br>
<!--*[[Previous volunteer news|Featured Volunteer News]]-->
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Diphenhydramine HCL 25&nbsp;mg (Benadryl)<br>
*[[FOIA|Freedom of Information Act]]
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Insect repellent stick (Cutter’s)<br>
*[[Interview Questions]]
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Lip balm (Chapstick)<br>
*[[Medical Information]]   
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Oral rehydration salts and Gatorade<br>
<!--*[[Peace Corps events]] -->
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Oral thermometer (Fahrenheit)<br>
*[[Phone Directory]]
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Pseudoephedrine HCL 30&nbsp;mg (Sudafed)<br>
<!--*[[Previous Contributor Highlights]]-->
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Robitussin-DM lozenges (for cough)<br>
<!--*[[Previous did you know?]]-->
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Scissors<br>
*[[Puzey Act volunteer surveys]]   
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Sterile gauze pads<br>
*[[Training]]
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Tetrahydrozaline eyedrops (Visine)<br>
<!--*[[Unofficial Volunteer Handbook]]-->
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Tweezers<br>
*[[Whistle Blowers]]   
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Water purification tablets<br>
*[[Peace_Corps_Political_Appointees|2011 Political Appointees]]
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<!--*[[Staff_consultants|2010 Staff Consultants]]-->
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*[[2010 Staff Directory]] 
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*[[2008 Biennial Volunteer Survey]]
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<!-- ***********************  Statistics ***************** -->  
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<div style="border-bottom:1px solid #adc687; background-color:#d3e5b8; padding:0.2em 0.5em 0.2em 0.5em; font-size:110%; font-weight:bold;">'''Statistics'''</div>
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<!-- * [http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/reports/Out-of-100.xls Out of 100] -->
 
* [[Early Termination]]
 
* [http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/images/FY2009Volunteers.xls Volunteers by country (FY09)]
 
* [http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/FOIAdocs/FY2008Volunteers.xls Volunteers by country (FY08)]
 
* [http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/images/PeaceCorpsFY08FY09.xls Comparison: FY09 with FY08]
 
* [[Departures by month]]
 
* [[Volunteer Allowances | About Volunteer Allowances]]
 
* [[Volunteer_allowance_rates | Allowance Rates]]
 
* [[Inspector General Reports]]
 
* [[The Safety of the Volunteer | Safety Statistics]]
 
* [[The Health of the Volunteer | Health Statistics]]
 
* [[Dissertations relating to Peace Corps | Dissertations About the Peace Corps]]
 
* [http://omnivorousone.wordpress.com/article/peace-corps-volunteers-o4q327ykmzte-5/  Studies of PCVs]
 
* [http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/images/Wiki_and_Journals_Stats_Sept_2009.pdf Wiki and Journals statistics]
 
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<!-- *********************** COUNTRIES ***************** -->   
 
<div style="vertical-align:top; border-bottom:1px solid #adc687; background-color:#d3e5b8; padding:0.2em 0.5em 0.2em 0.5em; font-size:110%; font-weight:bold;">'''[[Countries|Navigate by Country]]'''</div>
 
*[[Countries|All Countries]]
 
*[[Africa]]
 
*[[Asia]]
 
*[[Central America and Mexico]]
 
*[[Eastern Europe and Central Asia]]
 
*[[North Africa and the Middle East]]
 
*[[Pacific Islands]] 
 
*[[South America]]
 
<!-- *********************** ABOUT PEACECORPSWIKI *****************
 
  
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===Before You Leave: A Medical Checklist===
  
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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.
  
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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.
  
<!-- *********************** STATISTICS ***************** -->   
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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 with you 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, shortly after you arrive in Belize. You do not need to begin taking malaria medication prior to departure.
<!-- *********************** THINGS TO DO TO HELP ***************** -->   
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<!-- *********************** BOTTOM SECTION #1 ***************** -->   
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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, it will order refills during your service.
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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.
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<!-- *********************** ABOUT PEACE CORPS ***************** -->   
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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.
  
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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. The Peace Corps discourages 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.  
<div style="border-bottom: 1px solid rgb(255, 188, 121); background-color: rgb(255, 233, 210); font-size: 1px; height: 8px;"></div> <div style="margin: 5px 8px 8px; float: right;"></div> <div style="border-bottom: 1px solid rgb(170, 170, 170); padding: 5px; font-family: Verdana; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-size: 13pt; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; font-weight: bold;">[[What Do Volunteers Do?|About Peace Corps]]<sup>''[[What Do Volunteers Do?|more]]''</sup></div> <div style="padding: 5px; font-size: 9pt;">
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Since 1961, the Peace Corps has shared with the world America's most precious resource—its people. Peace Corps Volunteers serve in 73 countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, and the Middle East. Collaborating with local community members, Volunteers work in areas like education, youth outreach and community development, the environment, and information technology.  
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*[[What Do Volunteers Do?]]   
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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.  
*[[What is the Peace Corps?]]   
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*[[Where Do Volunteers Go?]]   
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*[[How Do I Become a Volunteer?]]   
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*[[Who Volunteers?]]   
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*[[What Are the Benefits?]]   
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*[[What About Safety?]]
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*[[Is Peace Corps a form of National Service (similar to the military)?]]
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</div>   
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<!-- *********************** CURRENT VOLUNTEERS ***************** -->   
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| style="border: 1px solid rgb(136, 152, 191); width: 33%; vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);" | <div style="border-bottom: 1px solid rgb(136, 152, 191); background-color: rgb(168, 211, 255); font-size: 1px; height: 8px;"></div> <div style="margin: 5px 8px 8px; float: right;"></div> <div style="border-bottom: 1px solid rgb(170, 170, 170); padding: 5px; font-family: Verdana; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-size: 13pt; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; font-weight: bold;">[[Current Volunteers]]<sup>''[[Current Volunteers|more]]''</sup></div> <div style="padding: 5px; font-size: 9pt;">
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Serving for two years in the Peace Corps may seem like a long time, but Close of Service may come faster than you expect. Volunteers can make the most of their time in-country through well organized material, collaboration and knowledge sharing. <span style="color: red;">[[Current Volunteers]]</span> should still keep in mind their own safety and security, cultural sensitivity, and the fact they are in-country representing the United States. See Manual [http://www.peacecorpsjournals.com/manual/MS204.html Section 204] regarding Volunteer conduct and [http://www.peacecorpsjournals.com/manual/MS543.html Section 543] regarding Volunteer use of information technology tools.  
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*[[Description of Service|Description of Service (DOS)]]   
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===Safety and Security—Our Partnership===
*[[Grant Resources and Project Funding]]   
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*[[Material Resources]]   
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<!-- *[http://www.peacecorpsjournals.com/manual/ Peace Corps Manual]    -->
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*[[Project Ideas]]   
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<!-- *[http://www.peacecorpsjournals.com/ Volunteer Journals]    -->
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*[[Volunteer Tips]]   
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*[[Volunteer Health]]
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*[[Add_a_Volunteer|Add a page on yourself]]
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</div>   
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<!-- *********************** RETURNED VOLUNTEERS ***************** -->   
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| style="border: 1px solid rgb(255, 188, 121); width: 33%; vertical-align: top; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);" | <div style="border-bottom: 1px solid rgb(255, 188, 121); background-color: rgb(255, 233, 210); font-size: 1px; height: 8px;"></div> <div style="margin: 5px; float: right;"></div> <div style="border-bottom: 1px solid rgb(170, 170, 170); padding: 5px; font-family: Verdana; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-size: 13pt; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; font-weight: bold;">[[RPCV Associations|Returned Volunteers]]''<sup>[[RPCV Associations|more]]</sup>''</div> <div style="padding: 5px; font-size: 9pt;">
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Your time as a Peace Corps Volunteer doesn't end when your two years of service are over. The time you spent in the Peace Corps will continue to enrich your life, both personally and professionally, for many years. And, in keeping with the Peace Corps' third goal, you'll have new opportunities every day to share what you've learned in the Peace Corps with fellow Americans.   
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*[[Add_a_Volunteer|Add a page on yourself]]
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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.
*[[RPCV Associations|Affiliate Groups]]   
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*[[Hotline]]   
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*[[Career Resources]]   
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*[[Continuing Services]]   
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*[[Benefits]]   
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*[[Returned Volunteers FAQs]]
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</div>
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|}
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<!-- *********************** BOTTOM SECTION #2 ***************** -->   
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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.
<!-- *********************** DISCLAIMER ***************** -->   
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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.
  
<div style="border-bottom:1px solid #adc687; background-color:#ffffff; padding:0.2em 0.5em 0.2em 0.5em; font-size:110%; font-weight:bold;">'''[http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/Peace_Corps_Wiki:About About PeaceCorpsWiki]''' </div>
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===Factors that Contribute to Volunteer Risk===
<div style="margin:5px 10px">
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'''Peace Corps Wiki''' is a collaborative project whose goal is to create a free, interactive, and up-to-date source of information about serving as a Volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps. Anyone is welcome to edit, add, or create an entry. So far there are a total of [[Special:Statistics|{{NUMBEROFPAGES}}]] pages that have been written and edited by (R)PCVs and friends of the Peace Corps from around the world. This wiki, designed and operated by returned Peace Corps Volunteers, offers a transparent source of information about the agency's operations and volunteer service.
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''Peace Corps Wiki welcomes all articles, content, and points of view. This site represents the cumulative effort of thousands of Peace Corps volunteers from around the world, and strives to maintain an objective and neutral point of view. The content of this site belong to the wiki's members and do not reflect any position of the U.S. Government or the Peace Corps.'' ''For official Peace Corps policy, please see their [http://www.peacecorps.gov/ official website].''
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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).
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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.  
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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.
 +
* Absence of others: Assaults ususally occurred when the Volunteer was unaccompanied. In 82 percent of the sexual assaults the Volunteer was unaccompannied 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:
 +
 
 +
<u>Strategies to reduce the risk/impact of theft: </u>
 +
 
 +
* 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 provide 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 Belize as compared to all other Inter-America and Pacific (IAP) 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 Belize===
 +
 
 +
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 Belize. 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 larger cities; people know each other and generally will not steal from their neighbors. Tourist attractions in large towns, for instance, are favorite work sites for pickpockets. The following are some safety concerns in Belize.
 +
 
 +
Motor vehicle accidents. This is the single greatest risk to your safety in Belize. You must wear seat belts whenever they are available and avoid riding in the back of pickup trucks.
 +
 
 +
Robbery/burglary. The homes of some Volunteers have been robbed in the past, so you need to take the same precautions that you would take in the United States. The Peace Corps will advise you on proper home safety during training and requires landlords to install burglar bars and deadbolt locks on Volunteers’ homes as needed.
 +
 
 +
Sexual assault. Volunteers have been targets of sexual assault in Belize. Alcohol consumption and cross-cultural differences in gender relations are often associated with sexual assaults, and the assailant is often an acquaintance of the Volunteer.  Volunteers who take seriously Peace Corps/Belize’s training regarding sexual assaults can minimize their risk. You are urged to report any assault or threat of assault to the Peace Corps medical officer so that staff can respond with appropriate support. Promiscuity can potentially put both men and women at risk.
 +
 
 +
Because homosexual behavior is illegal in Belize, gay and lesbian Volunteers must practice discretion.
 +
 
 +
===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 Belize, do what you would do if you moved to a new 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 Belize 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.  In addition, 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. And always walk with a companion at night.
 +
 
 +
Preparing for the Unexpected: Safety Training and Volunteer
 +
 
 +
===Support in Belize===
 +
 
 +
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. Belize’s in-country safety program is outlined below.
 +
 
 +
The Peace Corps/Belize office will keep Volunteers apprised of any issues that may impact Volunteer safety through information sharing. Regular updates will be offered 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 to prepare you for specific safety and security issues in Belize. 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.
 +
 
 +
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 roles 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 medical, banking, postal, and other essential services; availability of communications, transportation, and markets; housing options and living arrangements; and other Volunteer support needs.
 +
 
 +
You will also learn about Peace Corps/Belize’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, you will gather with other Volunteers in Belize 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.[http://vamostech.com/gps-tracking GPS Tracker] | [http://www.goldenfibreglass.com/product-atap-fiberglass.php Atap Fiberglass] | [http://www.yourbutik.com Parfum] | [http://www.dharmasubur.com Marine Contractor] | [http://www.dharmasubur.com/jetty-contractor Jetty] | [http://www.mitracatur.com/product/cotton-bud Cotton Bud]
 +
 
 +
[[Category:Belize]]
 +
[[Category:Health and Safety]]

Revision as of 12:10, 8 December 2015

Country Resources

The Peace Corps’ highest priority is maintaining the good health and safety of every Volunteer. On your hotel, you may ask for a safe to secure your goods in case you will move to the beach. An Hotel safe ( coffre fort agréé infosafe ) is perfect to store papers and few values, but not for big amounts of money. Peace Corps medical programs emphasize the preventive, rather than the curative, approach to disease. The Peace Corps in Belize 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 Belize at local, American-standard hospitals. If you become seriously ill, you will be transported either to an American medical facility in the region or to the United States.

Health Issues in Belize

Volunteers generally enjoy good health while serving in Belize. The most common health problems among Volunteers are diarrhea, skin infections, dental problems, headaches, respiratory infections, minor injuries, and STIs. Most illnesses and accidents involving Volunteers are preventable and, to a considerable degree, under the Volunteer’s control. When someone does contract an illness, it is often because of poor health practices.

But health problems also result from local environmental factors such as dust, humidity, insects, and disease-producing microorganisms. Exposure to tropical diseases like dengue fever, malaria, and hepatitis is possible, as well as being infected with intestinal parasites. There is also the potential for alcohol abuse.

Because malaria is endemic in Belize, you are required to take antimalarial pills. You will also be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B; tetanus and diphtheria; typhoid; rabies; and measles, mumps, and rubella.

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 Belize, 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 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 the Peace Corps 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 develop a serious medical problem during your service, the medical officer in Belize will consult with the Office of Medical Services in Washington, D.C. If it is determined that your condition cannot be treated in Belize, 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 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 Belize is to take the following preventive measures:

Many illnesses that afflict Volunteers worldwide can be avoided by proper water disinfection, safe preparation of food, careful selection of eating facilities, and good personal hygiene. Your medical officer will discuss specific standards for water and food preparation in Belize during pre-service training.

Volunteers can protect themselves from bites from disease-carrying mosquitoes by using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved clothing when outdoors at night, sleeping under nets (provided by Peace Corps), and spraying permethrin in their bedroom when necessary.

Rabies is endemic in Belize, so you will receive a series of immunizations when 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.

Abstinence is the only certain choice for prevention of HIV/ AIDS and other STIs. To lessen risk, use a condom every time you have sex. Whether your partner is a host country national, a fellow Volunteer, or anyone else, do not assume this person is free of HIV/AIDS or other STIs. 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 the 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 items are available in-country.

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
American Red Cross First Aid & Safety Handbook
Antacid tablets (Tums)
Antibiotic ointment (Bacitracin/Neomycin/Polymycin B)
Antifungal cream (Tinactin)
Antiseptic antimicrobial skin cleaner (Hibiclens)
Band-Aids
Butterfly closures
Cepacol lozenges
Condoms
Dental floss
Diphenhydramine HCL 25 mg (Benadryl)
Insect repellent stick (Cutter’s)
Lip balm (Chapstick)
Oral rehydration salts and Gatorade
Oral thermometer (Fahrenheit)
Pseudoephedrine HCL 30 mg (Sudafed)
Robitussin-DM lozenges (for cough)
Scissors
Sterile gauze pads
Tetrahydrozaline eyedrops (Visine)
Tweezers
Water purification tablets


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 with you 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, shortly after you arrive in Belize. You do not need to begin taking malaria 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, it 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. The Peace Corps discourages 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 ususally occurred when the Volunteer was unaccompanied. In 82 percent of the sexual assaults the Volunteer was unaccompannied 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 provide 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 Belize as compared to all other Inter-America and Pacific (IAP) 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 Belize

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 Belize. 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 larger cities; people know each other and generally will not steal from their neighbors. Tourist attractions in large towns, for instance, are favorite work sites for pickpockets. The following are some safety concerns in Belize.

Motor vehicle accidents. This is the single greatest risk to your safety in Belize. You must wear seat belts whenever they are available and avoid riding in the back of pickup trucks.

Robbery/burglary. The homes of some Volunteers have been robbed in the past, so you need to take the same precautions that you would take in the United States. The Peace Corps will advise you on proper home safety during training and requires landlords to install burglar bars and deadbolt locks on Volunteers’ homes as needed.

Sexual assault. Volunteers have been targets of sexual assault in Belize. Alcohol consumption and cross-cultural differences in gender relations are often associated with sexual assaults, and the assailant is often an acquaintance of the Volunteer. Volunteers who take seriously Peace Corps/Belize’s training regarding sexual assaults can minimize their risk. You are urged to report any assault or threat of assault to the Peace Corps medical officer so that staff can respond with appropriate support. Promiscuity can potentially put both men and women at risk.

Because homosexual behavior is illegal in Belize, gay and lesbian Volunteers must practice discretion.

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 Belize, do what you would do if you moved to a new 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 Belize 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. In addition, 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. And always walk with a companion at night.

Preparing for the Unexpected: Safety Training and Volunteer

Support in Belize

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. Belize’s in-country safety program is outlined below.

The Peace Corps/Belize office will keep Volunteers apprised of any issues that may impact Volunteer safety through information sharing. Regular updates will be offered 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 to prepare you for specific safety and security issues in Belize. 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.

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 roles 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 medical, banking, postal, and other essential services; availability of communications, transportation, and markets; housing options and living arrangements; and other Volunteer support needs.

You will also learn about Peace Corps/Belize’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, you will gather with other Volunteers in Belize 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.GPS Tracker | Atap Fiberglass | Parfum | Marine Contractor | Jetty | Cotton Bud