International health news
- UV rays pose threat to eye health - UV exposure has been linked to several serious eye conditions, experts are warning people to use the correct sunglasses this summer.
- One minute of exercise a week for elderly - Just a minute of high-intensity exercise a week can lower blood pressure and improve pensioners’ ability to do simple tasks.
- New virus found in human intestines - A previously unknown bacteriophage has been discovered in the human gut, scientists say it could play a role in chronic disease.
World Hepatitis Day on July 28 this year will increase awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis and the diseases it causes – affecting hundreds of millions of people around the world.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) hopes to raise awareness of the disease, which causes acute and chronic liver disease, killing almost 1.4 million people each year.
The theme for this year’s World Hepatitis Day is “Think Again”, and campaigners are encouraging people to get tested for hepatitis. They have also outlined a three-point plan including:
- improving screening and prevention methods
- coordinating a global response to the disease
- promoting the inclusion of vaccines (where available) into national immunisation programmes.
In May this year, World Health Assembly delegates from 194 member states adopted a resolution to improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of viral hepatitis.
More than 1,300 people lined up last week to enter a weight loss contest in Dubai. The competition, called “Your Child in Gold”, awards families two grams of gold for every kilo lost and follows last year’s “Your Weight in Gold” initiative.
This year parents can register with their children to help combat early obesity and to encourage healthy lifestyles within families. Families will receive two grams of gold for every kilo lost, which is double the reward for individual entrants. Last year’s winner was a Syrian who lost 26 kgs in roughly three weeks, and won gold worth Dh10,000 (€2,000).
International health news
- AIDS ‘under control’ by 2030 - With the number of deaths and new infections falling, researchers say the epidemic can be brought under control by 2030.
- Mediterranean diet affects races differently - Sticking to a Mediterranean style diet has greater health benefits for Afican American older adults than for white older people.
- Can you force healthy eating on children? - Michelle Obama’s campaign to make school lunches healthier is unpopular with schools due to more food being wasted.
Allianz Worldwide Care has won the Best International Private Health Insurance Provider award at the annual Professional Adviser International Fund & Product Awards. Allianz Worldwide Care is one of the world’s leading international health insurance companies, employing over 800 staff in Dublin and abroad.
The Best International Private Health Insurance Provider award category is for private health groups which provide international health products, via brokers and advisors to expats.
According to research from Expacare, 47% of companies believe health insurance cover is an essential part of the benefits package for expat employees. The Anatomy of an international business research, which surveyed 1,000 employers, also found that 43% believe that share options are an essential part of the package.
More than a quarter (27%) of those polled said their staff had used a 24-hour medical helpline abroad, and 26% have had to make use of medical evacuation where facilities were not available locally. Nearly half (45%) think medical evacuation should be included as part of an international insurance package, with the same percentage calling for a 24-hour medical helpline.
Whether you are moving abroad for work, to retire or to study, the overriding recommendation is to ensure you have sufficient private medical insurance. In certain destinations, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Dubai, for example, health insurance is mandatory for expats. World of Expats has created a healthcare package for those moving abroad, including access to health insurance through brokers or direct from providers.
As more people are moving overseas for various reasons the challenges of accessing care abroad are highlighted. Language barriers, cultural differences, complicated systems, and below par standards are some of the obstacles expats face. All this is before you consider pre-existing conditions, whether your regular prescription will be available, or how to access your medical records while abroad.
For expats, seeking healthcare abroad can be an anxious process: language barriers, different rules and regulations, and cultural differences can all be obstacles when accessing treatment. Luckily, virtual clinics are now available online, and can help you get a diagnosis in a few minutes, taking away the stress of using a foreign system.
Perfect for expats
Let’s say you’re going abroad for a while, and you need to consult a doctor. Maybe it’s complicated, maybe you don’t speak the language. Sometimes you just wish you could see your regular doctor back home. Well, he might well be available online!
Several websites now offer live consultations with certified physicians via chat, phone or video calls. All you need to do is register online, and look for a doctor in the right field. These services are new and will surely improve with time.
With the summer holiday period fast approaching, thousands of Europeans will be looking forward to trips abroad. Ahead of the summer season, the European Commission (EC) has told holidaymakers to take full advantage of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) while abroad.
The EHIC allows holders access to medical treatment at the same cost as locals when travelling within the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland. According to an official statement, almost 200 million Europeans have the card as of 2013. This represents more than half of the insured population in the EU.
Tuberculosis is the second biggest killer due to a single infectious agent in the world, with a reported 1.3 million people dying from the disease in 2012, and 8.6 million falling ill. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently announced a plan to eradicate this deadly disease from 33 countries which do not experience it at epidemic levels.
WHO will work with the European Respiratory Society (ERS) to eliminate TB from ‘low-burden’ countries, those with fewer than 100 cases per million people. The strategy, which will launch in 2016, aims to have the number of TB cases down to less than 10 per million people per year by 2035. The long-term goal is to eliminate TB (less than 1 case per million people) by 2050.