Important Health FAQ for Traveling Action Agents (Vaccinations, Medical Preparations, Services, Etc.)

Jun 6, 2011 at 6:06 PM by Steve Patriarco

Hello Fellow Action Agents! I wanted to share some very relevant information related to medical services and your physical well-being in advance of your potential departure to Indonesia. There will likely be information provided on this topic by the team at a later date, but I thought some of you might like to get a jump start on this process - particularly given that it takes a number of weeks to get all this in order, and the fact that a number of you may be pursuing multiple avenues to ensure your participation in conservation/development projects on the ground in Indonesia in the near term. This was provided to me by AMINEF (The American Indonesian Exchange Foundation).


The standard level of health care in Indonesia is lower than that of the U.S., Australia, and many other countries. While some routine medical care is available in major cities such as Jakarta, it is not readily available in rural areas. You should inform the organization that is facilitating your employment/volunteer opportunity of any severe allergies or medical conditions that require your placement within a short distance of a hospital or medical clinic. I would await further information from the Borneo 3D team, as I cannot speak to the accommodations local to Sintang that may preclude selection of individuals with any such conditions.

It is important that you take the necessary precautions to prevent illness and injury while abroad in Indonesia. We strongly advise that grantees consult with their personal physicians to receive updated information on prevalent diseases and recommended immunizations before traveling to Indonesia. To allow the immunizations and other preventative medicines to take effect, grantees should visit their physician at least 4-6 weeks before their scheduled departure date. In addition, grantees should make sure that their routine vaccinations are up-to-date.

You can find further information on health precautions related specifically to Indonesia in the international travel section of the U.S. Department of State website. Additional information on vaccinations and other preventative measures, such as food and water safety and insect bite protection, can be found on the Centers for Disease Control Travelers' Health website.


In developing countries, like Indonesia and India for example, recommended shots are:

-Hepatitis B (good for 5 years) related to needle or blood transfusion.
-Hepatitis A (good for 10 years)
-Typhoid (good for 3 years) related to food, sea food and water.
-Japanese encephalitis (optional)
-Rabies (recently recommended by CDC because of rabies endemic in Bali and other areas)


While this was specific to the U.S. State Department's requirement for extended employment/research in Indonesia, I had to undergo a fairly rigorous physical exam to ensure I had no underlying conditions that could endanger my well-being while in Indonesia. This may or may not be a requirement for this project, but it certainly couldn't hurt. Speak with your physician and make them fully aware of your plans. He/she will likely advise a number of blood tests and other courses of pre-departure treatment.

Good luck everybody and be safe! We need you healthy out there!

This post was edited on: 2011-06-06 at 06:12 PM by: Steve Patriarco

2 Replies

Perry Schumacher
Jun 10, 2011 at 9:49 AM

Definately a useful post. Thanks Steve! What aboiut Yellow fever? I know that this is a big concern for a lot of countries in terms of being allowed in only with a certificate of vaccination. Any info on this?

Steve Patriarco
Jun 13, 2011 at 10:46 AM

From the CDC Website:

"Although yellow fever is not a disease risk in Indonesia, the government requires travelers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever virus transmission to present proof of yellow fever vaccination. If you will be traveling to one of these countries with a risk of yellow fever virus transmission before arriving in Indonesia, this requirement must be taken into consideration."

USA and Canada are not on the list, so you don't have to worry about this Perry. Other Action Agents certainly will, though.

The time to act is NOW. For the orangutans, for the global climate, and for the rural people that have depended on these forests for generations. Please, help me help them by watching this brief video, and thank you!

This post was edited on: 2011-06-13 at 10:52 AM by: Steve Patriarco