International travel and health

Responsibility of the traveller

Travellers can obtain a great deal of information and advice from medical and travel industry professionals to help prevent health problems while abroad. However, travellers are responsible for their health and well-being while travelling and on their return, as well as for preventing the transmission of communicable diseases to others. The following are the main responsibilities of the traveller:

  • the decision to travel;
  • recognizing and accepting any risks involved;
  • seeking health advice in good time, preferably 4–8 weeks before travel;
  • complying with recommended vaccinations and other prescribed medication and health measures;
  • careful planning before departure;
  • carrying a medical kit and understanding its use;
  • obtaining adequate insurance cover;
  • taking health precautions before, during and after the journey;
  • obtaining a physician’s attestation pertaining to any prescription medicines, syringes, etc. being carried;
  • the health and well-being of accompanying children;
  • taking precautions to avoid transmitting any infectious disease to others during and after travel;
  • full reporting to a medical professional of any illness on return, including information about all recent travel;
  • being respectful of the host country and its population;
  • practising responsible sexual behaviour and avoiding unprotected sexual contact.

A model checklist for use by travellers, indicating steps to be taken before the journey, is provided at the end of chapter 1.