Planning an international trip is an exciting time. Often travelers choose destinations based on beautiful landscapes and architecture, history and things to do. Another important consideration that’s easy to miss is the availability of adequate emergency medical services.
Some countries provide medical care similar to what you find in the United States. Other nations have horrible medical care.
Let’s review some the best and worst places to need medical services abroad, based on the availability of care, sanitary conditions and cost. First, learn how to protect before you travel.
How To Prepare For International Travel
Before you leave for a trip abroad, check current travel health advisories and take recommended precautions such as getting immunizations. Also, if you’re traveling to countries where you can encounter malaria, pack insect repellent and ask your physician for anti-malarial medication. You can search the International Association for Medical Assistance for Travelers website for more details by country.
Medical care costs can vary widely from country to country, so it’s a good idea to have a travel health insurance policy. If you need medical evacuation, a membership with MedjetAssist can help. The company arranges medical transport from a foreign hospital to a hospital back home.
1. New Zealand and Europe
New Zealand tops the list of places to need medical care since services are widely available. Most countries in Europe have universal health care too. Everyone gets medical care including travelers. Costs for emergency care can be free, affordable, or expensive depending on where you are. Usually, drug costs are much lower than what you find in the United States. Drug names and dosages can differ from drugs found at home, so read instructions carefully.
2. The Middle East
Economic stability can be a factor in the quality of medical care. The situation varies widely throughout the Middle East. If you’re visiting prosperous countries including Qatar and members of the United Arab Emirates, you should be able to find the emergency care you need. Other counties have poor sanitation and infectious diseases. If you’re traveling to Egypt for example, know how to avoid contracting malaria. Also, if you’re visiting Afghanistan, you’ll need a yellow fever vaccination.
3. Other High-Risk Countries
India has the worst health care system due to lack of facilities and horrible sanitation. Other worst places to need emergency medical services are on the African continent. A lack of health care facilities and outbreaks of infectious diseases can make it hard to get proper care.
Although you may not worry about diseases like malaria at home, it’s prevalent in African countries as well as Haiti and the Dominican Republic. You may also find it hard to get emergency medical treatment in China. Ambulance service may be slow, and you may need to pay cash to get treatment.
Getting sick while traveling can ruin your vacation. Getting a life-threatening disease or injury in a country with horrible medical care options can be deadly. Consider the best and worst places to need medical care abroad before you book your trip. Check out the International SOS health care map to identify high-risk areas.
This post is brought to you by Medjet Assist.