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  Table of Contents 
EDITORIAL
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 69-70
 

Need for travel health services in India


Consultant, Chesnut Plaza, Shop No. 16, Second floor, Opp. Endenwoods, B. Nath Pai Marg, Thane (W), Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication14-Sep-2015

Correspondence Address:
Ganesh K Kulkarni
Regency Park, Tower B, Flat No 19C, off Pokharan Road No.2 B. Nathpai Marg, Thane 400610. Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-5278.165328

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How to cite this article:
Kulkarni GK. Need for travel health services in India. Indian J Occup Environ Med 2015;19:69-70

How to cite this URL:
Kulkarni GK. Need for travel health services in India. Indian J Occup Environ Med [serial online] 2015 [cited 2019 Jun 17];19:69-70. Available from: http://www.ijoem.com/text.asp?2015/19/2/69/165328


The total number of foreign tourists who arrived in India in 2013 were 6–97 million; the tourists were mainly from the USA, the UK, Russia, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, and Malaysia. The forex earnings were to the tune of US$ 18.45 billion. Between January 2014 and August 2014, the total number of foreign tourists who arrived were 4.68 million and forex earnings from tourism were US$ 12.74 billion (Ref: Statistical Outline of India, 2014–15, Tata Services Limited, Department of Economics and Statistics). The reasons behind this tourism are for the purpose of business, health care, education, pilgrimage, holidays, and personal and family visits. Similarly, millions of Indians visit other countries in the world for the same purpose.

Companies, organizations, and employees alike consider it a special challenge to work abroad for a few weeks, months, or years. It requires adaptability in terms of language, climate, work ethics, and culture. There is also pressure to complete projects in time that lead to stressful situations. Success depends upon interpersonal skills and performance of the project team. Hence, health plays an important role in performance. To avoid implications of ill health, there is a need for organized travel health services in all countries and more so in India. There are some mandatory and nonmandatory national and international requirements with respect to vaccination (yellow fever, meningococcal disease, and others) that need to be complied with. The conduct of a pretravel individual health risk assessment, health checkup, and counseling is a good practice in an organization. Even a prearrival discussion with the local physician and the traveler's family can build confidence on the available health facilities in that location. A travel medical kit to manage minor ailments such as traveler's diarrhea, acidity, aches, and pains should be in place with prescription as per the country's regulations. Preventing certain diseases such as malaria through chemoprophylaxis, vaccine preventable diseases, advice on preventing deep vein thrombosis, and managing jetlag are the essentials of travel health services. Climate-related aspects such as sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) radiation, frostbite, and high altitude-related issues need to be discussed with all potential travelers. Information on the best-in-class health care facilities, local contact person, and insurance details is essential in life-threatening situations. All travelers should be given basic training in first aid that comes in handy when at remote locations. There should be a mechanism to report or document ill health or injury incidents on return to the host country that shall help in realigning strategies for effective management of travel health in the organization.

From the public heath aspect, information on communicable diseases, food safety, safe drinking water, sanitation situation, and access to health care should be communicated through a single point travel health desk in public and private hospitals. Sensitizing travel agencies and tour guides is essential in preventing travel-related illnesses. Special travel guidelines with respect to women's health (especially pregnancy) and the care of handicapped travelers should be included in travel advice. The government should consider creating more public facilities and providing license for private setups for administering yellow fever vaccination. This will lead to more compliance and reduction of the burden on existing services.

Today in India, we have very few organized travel health services that exist mostly in metropolitan cities and we have very few trained specialists in travel health. Academic policy makers should focus on introducing postgraduate course on travel health as a specialty and plans should be in place for future capacity-building in India. The Indian Association of Occupational Health (IAOH) should explore collaborative efforts with the International Society for Travel Medicine (ISTM) for capacity-building in the specialty of Travel Health. It is beyond the scope of this editorial to cover all aspects of travel health but an attempt has been made to discuss this important topic and create awareness. Readers can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Health website for more information. Travel health policy is an important document for preventing travel-related illness in any organization.




 

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