Travel Health Advice: Immigration to Africa and Asia
Managing risk for relocating employees, whether for illness or injury, is a vital part of global mobility. Sometimes difficult destinations that reside in Asia or Africa can pose particular challenges in terms of infectious diseases, generic health and safety and even pollution.
One of the most important pieces of health advice to any employees who are relocating to these continents is to ensure that all necessary vaccinations are administered. Although there are some illnesses that can’t be vaccinated against, many seriously harmful, if not fatal, diseases can be. Cholera, hepatitis, meningitis, rabies, tuberculosis, typhoid and yellow fever are all major vaccinations that it is wise to receive.
In Africa in particular, there is an incredibly diverse scale of extremes for available healthcare depending on the country you are relocated to. South Africa for example has some of the most state-of-the-art healthcare facilities and highest quality surgeons, but in rural areas there is little to no healthcare in any basic form.
Staying healthy in these countries isn’t just limited to vaccinations however. It includes ensuring that you have the right level of sun protection, enough water to prevent dehydration and avoid eating or drinking anything that could be contaminated. If in doubt, don’t risk it – boiling water or food before consumption is a popular method of ensuring it’s safe to ingest. Make sure that health insurance is also able to provide full coverage, including repatriation costs or any financial costs should you need to be evacuated to a larger town or even abroad.
Asian countries, China in particular have recently been in the international news for their levels of pollution. This has been a major cause for the country losing its charm for many expats. It doesn’t have to be an issue however. By monitoring health closely and trying to limit as much exposure to polluted environments, there shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Expats need to ensure they have all their health documentation up to date and readily available.
Health is a primary consideration in global mobility. Assignment countries need to have the facilities to assist with any chronic conditions, and it is the responsibility of both the employer and employee to ensure that all possible prevention against illness and injury is taken.