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Wednesday, 30 October 2013 | Staff Reporter



Minimizing the risk of diseases in the Middle East through Travel Medicine

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According to experts, approximately 4.2 million global travelers pass through Dubai Airport in the UAE on a monthly basis. As the age groups, gender, nationalities and countries travelled to and from vary, it is necessary for all travelers traveling from, through or to Dubai, to take the necessary health precautions prior to travelling.

“The traveler's clinic, established by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) in 2009, is one of the most specialized clinics in the public healthcare delivery system. It is the first clinic of its kind in the UAE, designed to serve the needs of travelers coming in to or transiting through Dubai or residents of Dubai travelling elsewhere. The aim is to ensure a healthy and safe journey to all travelers from Dubai to any destination around the world,” highlighted Dr. Fatma Al Attar, Consultant Family Physician, Head, Preventative Services, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai, UAE, speaking at the recent Abu Dhabi Medical Congress in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

In 2012, 17,230 travelers have visited the clinic prior to their travels, 67 % of visitors were between 15-45 years of age. 1706 out of 17368 were Emirati citizens and 15658 were expatriates. Out of these visitors, 5250 out of 17368 were females and 12118 were males.

“All individuals planning travel should seek advice on the potential hazards in their chosen destinations and understand how best to protect their health and minimize the risk of acquiring disease. The pre-travel consultation provided at the DHA’s ‘Traveller’s Clinic’ is a risk-based assessment process that provides a guide to prioritizing according to the traveler's itinerary, risks, and needs to reduce their risk of illness and injury during travel,” encouraged Dr. Al Attar.

Travelers intending to visit a destination should consult a travel medicine clinic or medical practitioner 4-6 weeks before the trip for assessment of their health needs. The followings are essential elements for pre-travel consultation: risk assessment, risk communication and risk management.

Risk assessment includes mode of travel, destinations, duration, season, and purpose of travel etc. Risk communication pertains to providing reliable information for the individual travelers. Finally, risk management involves immunization, medication and education.





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