Travel Medicine in Qatar: Strategic Action for Better Public Health Outcome

Document Type: Letter to Editor

Authors

Community Medicine Residency Program, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar

Keywords


The 21st century has witnessed exponential growth in the travel industry as well as the emergence and re-emergence of several infectious diseases, such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.1 Moreover, modern travel has eliminated spatial and temporal barriers, heightening the risk of global propagation of disease. Therefore, there is a need for balance between the health risks as well as the unique opportunities associated with travel, which is achievable through travel medicine.2
Despite the fact that pre-travel medical advice and post-travel medical care are vital for travelers’ health, many do not pursue such services and are unaware of the health risks associated with their destination.
Primary care physicians, the travelers’ first line of contact with the heath system, must possess comprehensive knowledge of the dynamic epidemiology of travel-associated illnesses and the availability of new preventive or treatment measures.3 Most primary healthcare professionals portray a positive attitude towards giving travel-related health advice. However, such confidence must be fortified with appropriate knowledge and skills through certification programs, courses, or fellowships to build capacity and standardize the service provided.4 In the primary healthcare setting, the use of information technology in travel clinics has yielded good outcomes in terms of standardizing the care provided as well as guiding physicians and empowering their practice. However, the uptake of modern technologies does not eliminate the need for continuous professional development and health service evaluation....(Read more...)

  1. Bala M, Chehab MAH, Selim NAA. MERS: an emerging disease of the 21st century. Int J Community Med Public Health. 2017;4(7):2202-7. doi:10.18203/2394-6040.ijcmph20172806.
  2. Al-Dahshan A, Chehab MAH, Bala M. Travel Medicine in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries. Int J Travel Med Glob Health. 2018;6(1):35-35. doi:10.15171/ijtmgh.2018.08.
  3. Bratton RL. Advising patients about international travel. Postgrad Med. 1999;106(1):57-64. doi:10.3810/pgm.1999.07.605.
  4. Streit JA, Marano C, Beekmann SE, et al. Travel and tropical medicine practice among infectious disease practitioners. J Travel Med. 2012;19(2):92-95. doi:10.1111/j.1708-8305.2011.00590.x.
  5. Bouldouyre MA, De Verdiere NC, Pavie J, et al. Quality of travel health advice in a French travel medicine and vaccine center: a prospective observational study. J Travel Med. 2012;19(2):76-83. doi:10.1111/j.1708-8305.2011.00591.x.
  6. Qatar Airways. THE QATAR AIRWAYS STORY: Charting the Rise of One of The Fastest Growing Airlines In The World [Internet]. 2017. Available from: https://www.qatarairways.com/content/dam/documents/press-kit/The%20Story%20of%20Qatar%20Airways%20-%20English.pdf.
  7. Al-Hajri M, Bener A, Balbaid O, Eljack E. Knowledge and practice of travel medicine among primary health care physicians in Qatar. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2011;42(6):1546-1552.
  8. Khan ID, Khan S, Khan MA, et al. Indian Medical Mission at Hajj2016: Mass-Gathering Medicine Perspectives, Challenges, and Opportunities in a Mission Posture. Int J Travel Med Glob Health. 2017;5(3):94-101. doi:10.15171/ijtmgh.2017.20.