We are often asked by teams what medical preparations are needed to volunteer with Bonne Terre Haiti. Unlike most 1st world nations, Haiti has no requirement for visitors to provide proof of vaccination therefore it will be up to you to determine the degree to which you want to take precautions for disease prevention. There are two general approaches that people, including travel physicians, often use:
- “I don’t want to take any powerful medicines unless I absolutely have to.” This approach involves more of a focus on actively preventing the disease during your time in haiti.
- “Protect me against anything that might affect me.” This is the most conservative approach, and involves the most vaccinations and medicines. This approach is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP).
We strongly encourage you to review the information below in full detail and consult with your primary care physician to determine the appropriate level of preparation required to ensure you have a healthy trip.
Please bring a personal water bottle with you for your time on the island. We cannot express strongly enough the importance of hydrating beyond anything you ever imagined. The sun, work and temperature can affect you quickly. The best preventive step to staying healthy while on the island is to drink a minimum of 2 litres of water a day and preferable 3. A continual supply of drinking water will be provided at the MADO Guest House.
Common Health Concerns for Haiti and Dominican Republic
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals. It begins with a bite from an infected female Anopheles mosquito, which introduces the protists through saliva into the circulatory system. Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever and headache. The disease is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions around the equator, including Haiti and the Dominican Republic.The Center for Disease Control recommends that travelers to malaria-endemic countries take an anti-malaria medication prior to and after your visit. We recommend that you consult with your physician to determine which prescription medication is right for you. In addition to medication, you can also request of acquiring the disease by applying each morning and throughout the day. Long pants and long sleeves also reduce the risk of insect repellant daily during their stay especi
Hepatitis A can be contracted from contaminated food and water. Because we use all bottled water in food preparation, dishes are washed in chlorinated water, and our own cooks are preparing the meals, we feel the risk for Hepatitis A is relatively small. That said, Hepatitis A can be contracted anywhere, and getting the vaccination is probably a wise idea not just for this trip but for the long term benefits of having the vaccination.
Typhoid fever, also known simply as typhoid, is a common worldwide bacterial disease, transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person. All team meals will be prepared and served by MADO staff members. The MADO kitchen operates within a defined set of safety parameters that will reduce risk of food borne infection. The CDC recommends typhoid vaccine for travelers to areas where there is a recognized increased risk of exposure to S. Typhi. – The typhoid vaccines currently available do not offer protection against S. Paratyphi infection. Travelers should be reminded that typhoid immunization is not 100% effective, and typhoid fever could still occur.
All volunteer teams traveling to Haiti must purchase Travel Medical Insurance for each person visitor to Bonne Terre Haiti.
- Please send a copy of your travel insurance to your team leader 5 weeks prior to your travel date.