5 handy health checks for expats

27 August 2018

There’s so much to think about when you move abroad that your health often takes a back seat. But while you’re busy packing up your worldly goods, sorting out visas and arranging new schools for the kids, be sure to put aside a few minutes to get your medical arrangements in order – because if you leave it too late, it can cause all kinds of problems.

For those of you who are wondering where to start, here are five suggestions that might just help.

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  1.  Don’t forget your jabs
    If you’re relocating to a country that requires vaccinations, get them out of the way early. It might not be the most pleasant task, but they’re often required well in advance of your travel date and tend to involve nothing more than a quick trip to the doctor. Likewise, if you have kids, check their childhood vaccinations are up-to-date, because they might not be available in your new location.

    For the latest information on vaccinations check the World Health Organisation website at www.who.int/ith/vaccines/en

  2. Locate your nearest medical centre
    It sounds obvious, but when you move abroad, you need to know what to do and where to go if you require medical attention. So before you go, find out the name, address and telephone number of the local doctor, medical centre and emergency room – you never know when you might need them.

  3. Speak to your doctor about any prescription drugs
    The availability of prescription drugs is different all over the world. So have a chat with your doctor about any medicines you might need to access while overseas. It will also help to learn the generic names of over-the-counter drugs, because brand names can often vary. 

  4. Translate your medical history
    If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, it’s worth getting your medical history translated into the language of your destination country. This will prove extremely useful to any new doctors and help them avoid having to repeat unnecessary medical tests in the future. 

  5. Check you have appropriate health insurance
    Health care practices vary from region to region and it’s important that you have access to the right treatment any time you need it. But remember, not all medical insurance is the same, so before making any decision, be sure to check the benefits reflect your new lifestyle and location.