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Friday, September 25, 2020

NYSC Camping Guide: Possible Health Challenges, Preventive Measures, and Basic Necessities

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Should you be concerned about your health when going for service? Let’s find out. When it’s time for you to obey the clarion call, there’s nothing more exciting than finding out you’ve been posted to a state you desire.

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However, we can all agree that getting posted to exactly where you prefer is a gamble that you most likely will lose unless you are fortunate.

But that’s not what we’re here to discuss. NYSC is a compulsory 12 months away from your comfort zone, and that means there are several challenges to be faced whether you’re prepared or not.

Some of the challenges include fear of the unknown, struggle to fit in or adjust to a new environment, anxiety, homesickness, the three weeks discomfort of camping in a new place, and of course, health challenges.

Thankfully, unless you have been dealing with any medical challenge, all you need to survive the small headaches and maybe running stomach that is inevitable (mainly if you eat from the camp kitchen) are simple over-the-counter medications.

In 2017, the NYSC made it compulsory for prospective corp members to obtain a Medical fitness certificate from a general or military hospital before going to camp.

The purpose of this was to exclude individuals with medical concerns from the strenuous morning drills and campground exercises.

The new requirement was necessary after countless reports of corpers collapsing, and a few dying while taking part in camp activities from 2014 to 2016.

The NYSC also makes sure that every camp, regardless of your state of deployment, has a camp clinic where sick corp members are cared for by other corpers with medical backgrounds.

In cases where the clinic lacks the right equipment to manage an illness, the patient will be transferred to a hospital where they can be cared for, and the NYSC will make a refund of the medical bills to the patient.

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For Corp members posted to Northern Nigeria, a meningitis vaccination is compulsory. However, it can be quite pricey to get vaccinated in a private hospital, so visiting a government hospital is your best bet.

Budget as much as 15k (Fifteen thousand Naira) for this vaccine. You may spend less than this amount, but 15k is the highest charge for meningitis vaccination.


Water is also a significant cause of illness both in camp and in some places of primary assignment. Corp members are advised only to drink clean table water or use water guards for filtration at their place of primary assignment.

With the occasional outbreak of waterborne diseases in areas where there is a single or no good source of water, one can never be too careful.

Mosquito repellents

Malaria is no new illness in Nigeria, and you are well aware that most camps are hosted in secondary schools or campsites with bushes that can be home to mosquitoes.

Thankfully, there are several mosquito repellent creams and sprays that you can purchase from your local pharmacy, online or the market.

Also, get a treated mosquito net for your sleep area. Treated nets cost between 500 to 1000 naira, so you have no excuse to go camping without one.

Necessary medical supplies for Corp members. When shopping for camp supplies, remember to shop for these:


1. A pack of paracetamol
2. Pain killers for cramps and joint pains
3. Over-the-counter medications for running stomach
4. Vitamin C


If, like me, you have sensitive skin, then you may have to deal with pimple outbreak, sunburns, or even eczema when your bath water or the scorching sun decides to welcome you to your temporary home.

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To avoid such heartbreak, make sure to go camping with the following:

1. Disinfectant
2. Sunscreen
3. Medicated soap
4. Moisturizer
5. Lip balm


The government takes it upon themselves to provide food for corpers throughout their stay in camp. However, it is better to be safe than sorry as not every food that comes out of the camp kitchen will be friendly with your system.

If you do not wish to spend your money buying food or snacks from the mammy market ( there’s almost no way you won’t end up buying snacks), then you need to purchase these:

1. Cereal
2. Cocoa powder or tea
3. A pack of cabin biscuits, crackers, or any biscuits of your choice
4. Garri ( never forget this one)
5. Milk and sugar
6. Groundnuts
7. Chin-chin or chips

Extra supplies

  1. Sanitary pads
  2. Shaving sticks
  3. Shower caps
  4. Extra socks for sleep
  5. Hot balm for cold days
  6. Potty

Sleep challenges

Another problem that most Corp members might face is a disturbed sleep cycle. Camping is usually fun-filled, especially at night, so you might find yourself whispering to your roommates even after lights-out and sleeping for only three to four hours.

The problem comes when you have to wake up earlier than usual to prepare for the morning devotion/parade. The result of this new sleep routine includes:

  1. Weakness
  2. Headaches
  3. Tired looking eyes
  4. Less productivity

To avoid sleep issues, make sure to purchase a sleep kit consisting of earplugs (to block out noise), sleep blindfold (to block out light), and sleep socks (to keep your feet warm). Make deliberate efforts to sleep as early as 8 pm so that you can be well-rested and ready for the next day.

This may be almost impossible to achieve, considering how much fun you will be missing, but sleeping early and waking up feeling energized is the only to avoid headaches and tiredness.

These are the most common health challenges you may face while camping. Some of these issues, or others not mentioned in this article, may also be encountered at your place of primary assignment.

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However, once you can check-in to a nearby hospital and foot your medical bills, with proper documentation of the bills and a report to your local government inspector, the NYSC should reimburse you.

This article is specially created to help you stay in the best shape health-wise during the 12 months you have to serve your father’s land. Under the sun or in the rain, without a sound mind and body, your service year will not be as memorable as you want it.

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Disclaimer: This article is purely informative & educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.
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