Travelers’ Reported Preventive Health Behavior in Jinja, Uganda

Document Type : Original Article


1 London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK

2 Department of Internal Medicine, Busitema University Faculty of Health Sciences, Mbale, Uganda

3 Miranda Medical Centre, Sydney, Australia

4 Consultant in Emergency Medicine, University College London Hospital, London, UK

5 York Hospital, York Teaching hospital NHS Foundation Trust, York, UK

6 Paediatric Department, Rotorua Hospital, Rotorua, New Zealand

7 Muhimbili National Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

8 Department of Internal Medicine, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, Moshi, Tanzania

9 Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Alberta Children’s Hospital, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, USA

10 Department of Family Medicine and Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA


Introduction: Increasing international travel to low-income areas is confronting travelers with new health threats. This study investigated international travelers’ health advice, behavior, and information needs in a low-income setting.
Methods: This is a descriptive and cross-sectional study. Between October 27–31, 2014, 127 semi-structured surveys were conducted in Jinja, Uganda with international travelers selected by central-location intercept convenience sampling. Data was analyzed using SPSS software.
Results: Among all the 127 respondents, 88% sought pre-travel medical advice. The surveys revealed a pool of many traveling longer than six months (32.3%) with 72.3% of those being for volunteer purposes, while 41.2% of those traveling for less than one month (40.2%) were volunteers. Compliance with malaria chemoprophylaxis was reported by 94.1% of those traveling less than one month and 53.7% of those traveling longer than six months. Malaria topped the list of travel concerns among travelers, with sexually transmitted infections and Ebola virus disease cited as additional concerns.
Conclusion: Long-term travelers were heavily represented in the current sample, perhaps due to current events harming short-term tourism. Consistent with prior research, compliance with malaria prophylaxis decreased with length of travel as younger respondents trended toward poorer compliance. This survey highlights the need to accurately define “traveler” and its specific categories to better assess health risks for future travelers.


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