MAP: Worst places to fall ill while travelling


Cape Town - If you're a stalwart traveller, the risk of illness or injury has probably never put you off exploring new destinations. It's all part and parcel of the wonder of wanderlust. 

However, being aware of the level of healthcare different countries offer before setting off on your next trip and taking necessary precautions, is probably a good idea. 

Health organisation International SOS recently released an informative map, revealing which parts of the world have the best and worst healthcare infrastructure.

In a statement on their site, SOS explained that the Health Risk Map 2015 indicates health risk by the following categories: ‘Low’ indicated in green, ‘Medium’ indicated in yellow, ‘High’ indicated in orange, ’Extreme’ in red and ‘Large Rapidly Developing Countries’ in brown.

Medical risk ratings provide an overview of the threats of infectious disease, hygiene and sanitation, accidents and the availability and quality of the local health infrastructure. The ratings are determined by a panel of International SOS Medical Directors.

Unsurprisingly, North America, Europe and Australia are considered to be low-risk countries, providing excellent health care services.

On the other end of the spectrum, large parts of central and North Africa, Madagascar, Afghanistan and North Korea, among others, are considered to be extremely risky.

South Africa joins the likes of Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia and Morocco as a medium risk destination. 

Countries such as China, Brazil, India and Namibia have been earmarked as large growth destinations, where high quality medical services are available in large cities, while the rural areas lag behind. 

 “Recent International SOS data shows that over 40% of our medical cases occur in countries classed as ‘High’ or ‘Extreme’ risk. This is a significant increase from less than 25% in 2010. Preparation of travellers, including a risk assessment, education and health check programme for staff, will reduce the need for intervention after travel. This is especially important for people travelling to high and extreme risk countries. Health Risk Map 2015 is just one of the many tools that can help organisations plan and prepare for operations around the world,” said Doug Quarry,  medical director, medical information and analysis at International SOS.

Despite much of the continent still being in the red zone, Quarry highlighted a marked increase in the quality of healthcare throughout Africa, often due to foreign investment. He did add that the ongoing Ebola outbreak indicates challenges in existing healthcare systems. 

Check out the map above and click through here for a larger view

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