Message From Former Peace Corps/Niger Director - Jim Bullington
Because of a recent incident involving a former Niger PCV who returned for a visit and was injured, it's apparent that I need to reiterate our limitations on providing medical services in such cases.
PEACE CORPS MEDICAL OFFICERS ARE AUTHORIZED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL CARE TO CURRENT PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS ONLY.
They cannot provide medical care to Peace Corps staff (including the Country Director!), Peace Corps contractors, former Volunteers, parents, friends, or anyone other than current Volunteers. As much as we would like to be helpful to everyone in the Peace Corps "family," when it comes to medical care, we just can't do so. Except for first aid in life-threatening emergencies, the most our Peace Corps Medical Officers can do for non-PCVs is to refer them to recommended local health practitioners.
Please note that this policy is set by Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington. There is nothing we in Peace Corps/Niger can do to change it; and we can't make exceptions.
We have informed the Volunteers of this policy, and have asked them to advise their visitors to:
Have medical evacuation insurance. (Medical facilities in Niger are limited; SOS medical evacuation planes will not come without guarantee of payment; and these planes cost a minimum of $10,000.)
Take malaria prophylaxis in advance of the visit.
Get up to date on all needed shots. (Check with your physician and/or with a "travel clinic" allied with most large US medical centers. Travel clinics have current information on what vaccines are required to visit Niger and can administer them as well as recommend other health precautions.)
Please understand that we are not trying to discourage visitors. We only want you to be aware of our limitations in terms of medical care, and to prepare yourselves accordingly if you come.
We here at Friends of Niger strongly encourage you to follow Jim's advice before visiting Niger. Here are a few links that may help with your preparations:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has lots of information pertaining to vaccinations and travel, including a page dedicated to Niger.
The U. S. State Department has health and political information related to travel, including a page devoted to travel concerns in Niger
Travel medical insurance is widely available, and is quite affordable - typically only a few dolars per day or less. This can literally be a life-saver if you need to evacuated out of Niger for medical reasons.
Some examples (not endorsed by Friends of Niger; just listed for convenience):