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 8 tips on how to stay healthy in a tropical climate

The comprehensive training programme that our international development volunteers go through prior to the project period, includes a module about the most frequent diseases in tropical countries.

 

Some hazards are malaria, tuberculosis, cholera, hepatitis and dengue fever. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS is also high in many countries.  Prevention is the best cure, especially when there is no doctor, so the teams are learning how to avoid getting sick in the first place.

In this article we share some tips on how to stay healthy in rural Africa.

A Village Health Care Handbook

The book ‘Where there is no doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook’, is a healthcare manual for the treatment of patients in  countries, where medical assistance is poor or not available. The book which is almost 600 pages long, has a lot of useful information for non-medical experts, like how to recognise symptoms and how to treat them with or without medicine.  Prevention is best and sometimes there are easy treatment methods for trivial diseases that can be implemented.

Also, the book is useful to spot symptoms that may be serious, so that people know that they have to seek professional help at a proper clinic, before it is too late.

 

 

 

Here are 8 tips to stay healthy even if  you are living in very basic conditions in a tropical country:

Keep an excellent hygiene.
Wash hands often and keep everything around you neat and clean.

Disinfect or boil water before drinking it or using it to wash vegetables. 

Note: Water can be disinfected and in this way made drinkable using the rays of the sun. Check out the SODIS method! 

Only eat peeled fruit / vegtables or cooked food. 

Go to a hospital if you have any unusual health issues.

To have an upset stomach from time to time is to be expected, but do see a professional doctor if symptoms persist or if you experience new or unusal symptoms.

Keep clothes folded nicely. 
Otherwise, spiders could build nests in them.

Also, shake shoes and boots upside down before putting them on, to get rid of any creepy crawlies.

Do not swim in lakes.
(To avoid worms & infections and in the worst case: Schistosomiasis cause by bilharzia snails.)

Don’t walk in high grass. 
Wear proper boots in the bush,
Wear headlamps in the dark.
(To avoid snakes.)

Don’t wear black or neon-colored clothes which attract mosquitoes. Wear long-sleeved t-shirts and long trousers as soon as it gets dark.

Staying healthy in rural Africa

“Covering a wide range of subjects that affect the health of the villager – from diarrhoea to tuberculosis, from helpful and harmful home remedies to the cautious use of certain modern medicines. Special importance is placed on cleanliness, a healthy diet, vaccination, childbirth and family planning. “

The SODIS method

“Solar water disinfection – SODIS for short – offers a solution for preventing diarrhoea, one of the most common causes of death among people in developing countries.” 

Schistosomiasis (snail fever)

Schistosomiasis, or bilharzia, is a disease that is caused by parasitic worms. Infestation occurs when parasites that are released by certain types of freshwater snails come in contact with the skin or are ingested. 

Illustration: www.hegasy.de

Travellers should be advised to check that they have been fully vaccinated against measles, rubella, mumps, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and poliomyelitis before starting their travel. 

World Health Organisation (WHO)

How can I join the Take 10 Volunteer programme?

In order to enrol, you need to meet the following requirements:

    • You are 18 years old or older.
    • You are ready to leave your home for 10 months to volunteer in a community environment 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
    • You have decided not to drink alcohol or take drugs for the entirety of the program.
    • You are eager to experience a multidisciplinary and collective training programme, which includes theoretical and practical activities.
    • You are ready to immerse yourself in a multicultural and diverse community.
    • You are ready to volunteer where you are most needed.
    • You look forward to engaging with the Humana People to People projects in a spirit of cooperation, mutual learning and respect.
    • You are committed to learn about people, cultures, values and traditions, and to share your knowledge and stories with the public after your travels.

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8 tips on how to stay healthy in rural Africa

The comprehensive training programme that our international development volunteers go through prior to the project period, includes a module about the most frequent diseases in tropical countries.

 

 

Some hazards are malaria, tuberculosis, cholera, hepatitis and dengue fever. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS is also high in many countries.  Prevention is the best cure, especially when there is no doctor, so the teams are learning how to avoid getting sick in the first place.

A Village Health Care Handbook

The book ‘Where there is no doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook’, is a healthcare manual for the treatment of patients in  countries, where medical assistance is poor or not available. The book which is almost 600 pages long, has a lot of useful information for non-medical experts, like how to recognise symptoms and how to treat them with or without medicine.  Prevention is best and sometimes there are easy treatment methods for trivial diseases that can be implemented.

Also, the book is useful to spot symptoms that may be serious, so that people know that they have to seek professional help at a proper clinic, before it is too late.

 

Staying healthy in rural Africa

“Covering a wide range of subjects that affect the health of the villager – from diarrhoea to tuberculosis, from helpful and harmful home remedies to the cautious use of certain modern medicines. Special importance is placed on cleanliness, a healthy diet, vaccination, childbirth and family planning. “

1

Keep an excellent hygiene.
Wash hands often and keep everything around you neat and clean.

2

Disinfect or boil water before drinking it or using it to wash vegetables.

The SODIS method

“Solar water disinfection – SODIS for short – offers a solution for preventing diarrhoea, one of the most common causes of death among people in developing countries.” 

3

Only eat peeled fruit / vegtables or cooked food. 

4

Go to a hospital if you have any unusual health issues.

To have an upset stomach from time to time is to be expected, but do see a professional doctor if symptoms persist or if you experience new or unusal symptoms.

5

Keep clothes folded nicely. 
Otherwise, spiders could build nests in them.

Also, shake shoes and boots upside down before putting them on, to get rid of any creepy crawlies.

6

Do not swim in lakes.
(To avoid worms & infections and in the worst case: Schistosomiasis cause by bilharzia snails.)

Schistosomiasis (snail fever)

Schistosomiasis, or bilharzia, is a disease that is caused by parasitic worms. Infestation occurs when parasites that are released by certain types of freshwater snails come in contact with the skin or are ingested. 

7

Don’t walk in high grass. 
Wear proper boots in the bush,
Wear headlamps in the dark.
(To avoid snakes.)

8

Don’t wear black or neon-colored clothes which attract mosquitoes. Wear long-sleeved t-shirts and long trousers as soon as it gets dark.

Travellers should be advised to check that they have been fully vaccinated against measles, rubella, mumps, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and poliomyelitis before starting their travel. 

World Health Organisation (WHO)

Volunteering abroad can change your life and add valuable experience.

Take 10 Gap Year structure

3 months:
Preparation – training, practical skills, teamwork, setting goals

6 months:
Project work – in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique or India

1 month:
Conclusion and information activities – reflection, bringing the good message out