Things To Note In Health Insurance

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Health Insurance

Fee payment Find out in advance whether your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or will reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures (many doctors expect payment in cash).

Emergency transport It’s vital to ensure that your travel insurance will cover the emergency transport required to get you to a hospital in a major city, to better medical facilities elsewhere in Africa, or all the way home, by air and with a medical attendant if necessary. Not all insurance covers this, so check the contract carefully.

Medical assistance If you need medical help, your insurance company might be able to locate the nearest hospital or clinic, or you can ask at your hotel. In an emergency, contact your embassy or consulate.

Air evacuation Membership of the African Medical & Research Foundation (AMREF; www.amref.org) provides an air-evacuation service in medical emergencies in Kenya, as well as air-ambulance transfers between medical facilities. Money paid by members for this service goes into providing grassroots medical assistance for local people.

Recommended Vaccinations

The World Health Organization (www.who.int/en) recommends that all travellers be covered for diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and polio, as well as for hepatitis B, regardless of their destination.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (www.cdc.gov), the following vaccinations are recommended for Kenya: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningococcal meningitis, rabies and typhoid, and boosters for tetanus, diphtheria, polio and measles. It is also necessary to be vaccinated against yellow fever.

Medical Checklist

It’s a very good idea to carry a medical and first-aid kit with you, to help yourself in the case of minor illness or injury. If you’re travelling through an area where malaria is a problem, particularly an area where falciparum malaria predominates, consider taking a self-diagnostic kit that can identify malaria in the blood from a finger prick.

Following is a list of other items you should consider bringing:

  • Acetaminophen (paracetamol) or aspirin
  • Acetazolamide (Diamox) for altitude sickness (prescription only)
  • Adhesive or paper tape
  • Antibacterial ointment (eg Bactroban) for cuts and abrasions (prescription only)
  • Antibiotics (prescription only), eg ciprofloxacin (Ciproxin) or norfloxacin (Utinor)
  • Antidiarrhoeal drugs (eg loperamide)
  • Antihistamines (for hay fever and allergic reactions)
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs (eg ibuprofen)
  • Antimalaria pills
  • Bandages, gauze, gauze rolls
  • Insect repellent containing DEET, for the skin
  • Iodine tablets (for water purification)
  • Oral rehydration salts
  • Permethrin-containing insect spray for clothing, tents and bed nets
  • Pocket knife
  • Scissors, safety pins, tweezers
  • Steroid cream or hydrocortisone cream (for allergic rashes)
  • Sunscreen
  • Syringes, sterile needles and fluids if travelling to remote areas
  • Thermometer

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