How to stay healthy as a humanitarian
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How to Stay Healthy as a Humanitarian?

Staying healthy is essential for humanitarian aid workers in the field. The project you are working on depends on you being healthy. This way, you can give 100% of your skills and knowledge. Plus, if you get sick, then someone needs to take care of you. That’s why it’s key to ensure your health while you are working on an international humanitarian project. This can be difficult amid other responsibilities. But your project, colleagues, and even the participants will benefit from you staying healthy!

The ultimate humanitarian traveling list

Stay healthy as a humanitarian – Get all your vaccines

Before you even go on your mission, it’s crucial to get all your vaccines. This includes both your routine vaccines and any particular vaccines you may need at your destination. There are plenty of different immunization resources available for humanitarians online. However, you should always consult with your doctor before getting any vaccines.

Not only will vaccinations help to prevent diseases, but they are also sometimes an entry requirement. There are many countries where a yellow fever certificate is mandatory. Therefore, it’s vital to review these requirements beforehand, to not delay your arrival at the mission.

Take any required medication

It can be harder to keep track of conventional medicine while traveling. However, if you take a regular dose, then you should continue doing so while on a humanitarian mission. For this, make sure that you bring your prescribed pills with you, since they may not be available on site. You should also carry your physical prescription with you, to avoid any issues at the border.

Sometimes, you may also need specific medication at your destination. For example, many humanitarians may travel to malaria-affected areas. As such, you’ll need antimalarial medicine to prevent getting ill.

Bring medical supplies

A first aid kit should be one of the necessary items on your packing list. This is particularly true if you are traveling to a rural area or a post-disaster location. Since medical supplies may not be readily available, you need to bring your own. These will not only help you in case of an emergency but may come in handy if someone else gets hurt.

Ensure clean drinking water

Medicine aside, clean drinking water is another vital source to stay healthy. Millions of people get sick each year because they do not have access to clean drinking water. And if you are heading to an area where potable water is hard to find, you could be one of them.

To avoid this situation, bring water purification supplies with you. You can use a water purification bottle for traveling, which is a great on-the-go. Alternatively, you may want to bring water purification tablets, primarily if you will be based in a rural zone.

Immunization Resources for Humanitarians


Know where your food comes from

If you want to stay healthy as a humanitarian, another sanitation issue is food. You don’t want to be stuck in the bathroom, instead of working on the project. And since food sanitation standards can differ depending on where you are, make sure that you know the source of your food. Avoid eating street food, particularly in scorching weather. Also, make sure you ask for drinks without ice, which could also be contaminated.

Exercise regularly

Physical health should not be your only concern. Humanitarian work can be extremely stressful and take its toll on your mental health. There are several ways to ensure you stay focused and maintain stress levels at bay.

Exercise is one of them. Research shows that exercising regularly is great for your health. Not only does it help your body to stay healthy, but it also helps to clear your head. Plus, the routine of exercising is an excellent way to maintain some normality during chaotic work assignments.

Get into a sleep cycle

Another important factor is sleep. A lack of sleep can mess with your health – both physical and mental. So, regularly getting enough sleep is vital for higher performance. If you have trouble sleeping, you can try some meditation techniques, herbal teas, or even exercise. And while it might be tempting to work around the clock, your productivity will be higher if you do get enough sleep!

Stay healthy as a humanitarian – see a doctor

If you do feel physically or mentally unwell, make sure to see a doctor right away. It might be tempting to delay seeing a medical professional. After all, you are there to help others, and seeking help for yourself might feel selfish. However, it is best for your project, team, and participants if you are well and healthy.

The sooner you can get better, the more effective you can be on your project. So, getting the help of a medical professional is essential. Also, your organization will likely have a helpline for those suffering from mental health issues while on duty. Do reach out and stay healthy!

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