Medical assistance can be very expensive when youíre travelling overseas or in our neighbouring countries. Here are some pointers thatíll help in times of emergency, save you money and ensure a hassle free trip.
You could be refused entry into a country if you have not had the correct vaccinations, so make sure you have your injections in good time. Certain types of vaccination and preventive medicine have to be administered well in advance of your departure.
The Department of Health has informed the South African Society of Travel Medicine that as of October 1, 2011, all travellers from Zambia will be required to show proof of yellow fever vaccination (unless in possession of a valid waiver certificate). Travellers transiting airports in countries with risk of yellow fever transmission will also be required to show proof of yellow fever vaccination, regardless of the amount of time spent at the airport.
All travellers from yellow fever risk countries who are unable to produce a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate at the port of entry will either be refused entry or quarantined until their certificate becomes valid, or for a period of not more than six days. Those with an exemption certificate due to medical reasons will be allowed entry and required to report any fever or other symptoms to the health authorities and be placed under surveillance.
While you can't insure against misfortune and accidents, you can foresee the minor surprises with some degree of probability. It's always good to have something handy to relieve headache, diarrhoea and insect bites. Invest in a first aid kit - choose the size that will suit your trip or travel mode.
Make sure you have enough medication for the whole trip. You should also take the name of your medicine and your doctor's instructions/prescription with you. Depending on the country you are travelling to, you may need to get a doctor to write an explanation/or the prescription in English, French or Spanish, stating that the relevant medication is for personal use. Leave a copy with a friend or relative in case you need your prescription to be faxed to you while away. Always keep vital medication in your hand luggage, particularly if you have diabetes and use insulin.
Medical assistance can be very expensive, and if youíre involved in an accident, could run into millions of Rands. It is vital that when travelling internationally you advise your medical aid provider, and ascertain the rules of the scheme, in case you need to seek medical assistance while on a trip. Purchase travel insurance that will suit the destination that you are travelling to and the activities that you will be participating in.