South Africa



• Botswana

• Lesotho

• Namibia

• South Africa

• Swaziland

• Zimbabwe

Health Risks

• African tick bite fever

• African trypanosomiasis

• Avian influenza

• Dengue fever

• Filariasis

• Histoplasmosis


• Leishmaniasis

• Malaria (not in Lesotho)

• Marburg hemorrhagic fever

• Onchocerciasis

• Polio (in Namibia)

• Rabies

• Schistosomiasis

• Tuberculosis

Preventing Health Problems

Recommended Vaccines

• Routine Vaccinations – including polio, measles-mumps-and-rubella (MMR), tetanus-diphtheria-and-pertussis (Tdap), and yearly influenza vaccines.

• Hepatitis A

• Hepatitis B

• Typhoid

• Rabies

• Polio (only recommended in Namibia)

Avoiding Bug Bites

• As you begin to further south in Africa the occurrence of malaria begins to decrease. That being said it is still very prevalent and is cause for concern as well as precaution. It is very important to avoid and prevent bug bites while in Africa as malaria is spread by mosquitoes and other diseases are spread by all types of insects. There are some precautions that can be taken to prevent bug bites as well as malaria.

o Anti-malaria prescription medications are available and are highly recommended. See a doctor prior to leaving about obtaining a prescription.

o To prevent bug bites use insect repellent with 30%-50% DEET. In addition to insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. Since mosquitoes are more active at night, avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn as much as possible.

o Permethrin, while very effective against all insects, is especially effective against mosquitoes. By sleeping under permethrin-treated nets and bedding and using permethrin based insect spray indoors the amount of mosquitoes in your residence can be greatly reduced.

Food and Water

• Being in a new culture and country also means new concerns about both food and water. In order to reduce food and water borne illnesses there are some precautions that can be taken.

o Drink bottled water, bottled or canned carbonated drinks, or water you have filtered or treated. DO NOT drink tap water, fountain drinks, or use ice cubes.

o Washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer often and especially before eating is a simple yet very effective way to reduce ingesting harmful bacteria and viruses.

o As for food DO NOT eat food that may have contacted contaminated water or soil such as fresh vegetables or fruit that you don’t peel before eating.

o Meat should always be fully cooked before eating to avoid food borne illness as well as ingesting stomach worms.

o DO NOT eat unpasteurized dairy products

o Avoid eating food from street vendors as food borne illness is prevalent at them due to undercooked food and ingredients that are not washed or prepared properly.

Avoiding Injuries

• Some of the more common injuries that occur to missionaries in these areas are bike injuries. Always wear a helmet while riding your bike to prevent head injuries.

• While less common, injuries do occur while driving. The best defense against injury while driving is to wear a seat belt at all times while in a car.

Avoiding Animals

• Animals such as dogs and cats can spread diseases and insects such as rabies and fleas. Avoid touching animals as much as possible.

Sun Exposure

• Too much sun exposure can increase your risk for getting skin cancer. Always wear sunscreen when outdoors.

Avoiding Fungal and Parasitic Infections

• To avoid contracting fungal and parasitic infections keep your feet dry, clean and covered. That means DO NOT go barefoot. Wear sandals in the shower, slippers at home and shoes at all times when outside.

Recommended Items to Bring

General Health and Medications

The following is a list of medications that you might consider taking to this area of the world.

• Any medications you take regularly at home

• Prescription anti-malarial medication (not necessary in Lesotho)

• Pain reliever such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or aspirin

• 1% hydrocortisone cream

• Anti-itch cream

• Antifungal cream

• Saline eye drops

• Anti motion sickness medication (if necessary)

• Thermometer

Avoiding Bug Bites

The following is a list of general items that you should take with you for bug bites regardless of the region you will be in.

• Insect repellent with 30-50% DEET

• Long-sleeved shirts and pants

• Permethrin-treated bed netting

• Permethrin

o Currently, permethrin cannot be taken from the MTC in personal luggage on commercial airlines. You should plan on buying permethrin when you arrive in your mission or have it shipped out to you.

Food and Water

The following list includes items that help to simply reduce the spread of disease, but also includes items that help to reduce water and food borne illness. There are also a couple medications listed that help in the event that you have diarrhea.

• Hand soap

• Alcohol-based hand sanitizer

• Water bottle

• Water purification

o Water filter

o Iodine tablets

o Ultraviolet water purifier

• Anti-diarrhea medication (loperamide)

• Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol)

• Prescription antibiotic to treat travelers’ diarrhea

Avoiding Injuries

This list contains items you should bring if you ride a bike as well as some of the items you should find in a first aid kit.

• Bicycle helmet

• Bicycle multi-tool

• Basic first aid kit

o Multiple sizes of adhesive bandages

o Antibiotic ointment

o Butterfly bandages

o Gauze pads

o Alcohol wipes

o Adhesive tape

o Blistoban

o Moleskin or Molefoam

o Burn treatment gel

o Tweezers

• Compression bandage

Sun Exposure

• Sunscreen and sunburn lotion such as aloe vera are both vital to prevent sun exposure and to treat sunburns.