After 50 Tropical medicine excursions for healthcare professionals to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ghana (1995 – 2016)
KAY SCHAEFER, MD, PhD, MSc, DTM&H
Consultant in Tropical Medicine & Travellers’ Health,
TROPMEDEX, Cologne, Germany
Due to growing tourism more travellers return with tropical diseases. The continuous stream of asylum seekers to the developed world presents healthcare professionals with tropical infections, which they have not seen before. Global warming has contributed to the emergence of autochthonous malaria and
Dengue fever cases in temperate climate zones. These developments underline the fact that healthcare professionals in the developed world require more hands on experience in clinical Tropical Medicine and Travellers’ Health. The author has supervised 50 excursions in Africa and summarizes his experience over 22 years.
During the round trip excursions by 4×4 drive, bus and plane (lasting 11–13 days and covering on average 1500 km per excursion) the participants visit teaching hospitals and healthcare projects in various countries in Africa. Through a combination of bedside teaching sessions, case presentations, laboratory sessions and lectures (in English), the most important tropical infectious diseases are covered in the endemic areas. In addition the participants get an insight into the healthcare system and explore during medical field excursions the fantastic scenery and prolific flora and fauna of Africa. The excursions are accredited with 60 CME hours by the Medical Association in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Of 50 excursions, 20 took place in Uganda, 18 in Kenya, 8 in Tanzania and 4 in Ghana. A total of 513 healthcare professionals have been trained with an average of 10 participants per excursion. Among them were 262 women and 251 men. The average age was 49 years. Of the participants, 278 came from Europe, 112 from USA/Canada, 60 from Australia/NZ, 47 from Asia and 16 from Africa. Their specialized fields were as follows: 158 general practitioners, 106 physicians, 73 ID specialists, 37 gastroenterologists, 28 public health experts, 24 microbiologists, 23 occupational health experts, 20 dermatologists, 18 nurse practitioners and others. TROPMEDEX has never had any accidents or serious infections among participants during their excursions. The participants were accommodated in quality hotels and travelled with experienced drivers and reliable airlines.
Most of the participants have come from Europe and the USA/Canada, which correlates with the large number of tourists from those regions who have travelled to the tropics over the last two decades. However, in recent years more doctors from the Asia/Pacific region have opted to be trained as well, reflecting the increasing trend of the burgeoning tourist industry in those regions to tropical destinations. The main target group was the middle aged general practitioner working in medical practice. They had limited experience in Tropical Medicine and Travellers’ Health but were increasingly faced with post-travel examination of patients returning from the tropics.
FORTHCOMING TROPMEDEX DATES
|Ghana||30th November – 10th December 2016|
|Tanzania||5th February – 17th February 2017|
|Uganda||19th March – 31st March 2017|
|Ghana||29th November – 9th December 2017|