The Traveller's Good Health Guide

Ted Lankester

It was a pleasure to review this new edition of a much valued book. The book is excellent value, something that should be compulsory reading for all travellers but also for those preparing teams and families to go. The revised addition has improved the presentation and added up to date information in an excellent format.

We would highly recommend it as part of the requirements for both staff and volunteers. Despite a 12 year nursing background and 20 plus years of mission and oversea's travel I found I learnt a lot of valuable information ...some put to immediate use for two current volunteer applicants... we will be recommending this on a 'must have' list for our oversea's staff ...(plus a couple in the office for those of us involved in selection and preparation!!). There is always something more we would love to see added but this book has a balance of being extremely well presented, covering more than the essentials in a very readable fashion for both medically trained and lay people.

This copy is already being a valuable tool as we prepare and revise our material for the forthcoming Orietation of new staff during the next two weeks and I hope that we will get more copies in time for them to have their own to take with them.

Below are a selection of the personal comments which I have put in the order of the book but not altered. Most chapters received the same repetative comments...excellent , extremely useful, well written, should be included in our preparation, so I have added only those which are distinct for some reason. Those that are more a suggestion or something that we feel could be altered/added are in italics...

1) The division of the book into four sections 'Before you go, Healthy Travel, Returning home, and a glossary was noted as being very helpful for those busy preparing and not wanting to 'waste time' on things that could wait for that long plane ride! however what actually happened was that once started there was so much good information that it was too good to delay so we read on anyway!!!
(The only downside was the linking of some subjects within the book , there were a few times additional page numbers were given only to be given more additonal numbers once you turned there... most agreed they would like the full list of page numbers on that first link ).

2) Again for very similiar reasons the starting of the book with a 'check list' with additional supportive checklists at the end fo the book was a great advantage and highly praised. Everyone being able to go quickly to the personally relevant pages. The list would make a great mandatory checklist for all candidates!!!

3) The 'arranging immunisations' section was very clear even for those with no previous understanding of the subject.

4) The 'travellers with specific health risks' section we found a very valuable tool not just for candidates but for those of us having to make team really helped to re-evaluate the need for some short term people to receive full medicals instead of the mandatory paperbased assessment...excellent and well balanced.

5) The short chapter explaining the Travel Health Consultation was again very helpful for new travellers.

6) The chapter (17) on stress was very well written. The information given was very good and did cover well and clearly in way that was both easily understandable and very acceptable to maost people...although we would have liked to see more space given to this subject we know there have to be limits and this was excellent sue of space..we did appreciate the additional transition information in chapter 21 ..surviving an oversea's assignment ...,
(Maybe it would in future editions maybe worth adding weight to some of the valuable personaity assessment tools and uses that can be used to help people know themselves and prepare well using that knowledge....we appreciate this is not always available to everyone and although doubing the size of the book is not the aim these tools are so valuable to those changing culture we fell they are important enough to add in... and it's a bit like giving sprouts to kids...everyone wants the practical advice and assumes this side won't be putting it on the same plate would get it into them....)

7) The chapter on personal security was adequate but we felt very short ...several other items could be added here eg choosing flights that arrive at safe times could be put here or in the flight section, taking rubber doorstops to block doors from opening, making safe use of taxi's/buses...
We do accept that this is not the main aim of a health book but if a page or two more were added to this it would be a good investment and out of the whole book , which we found to be excellent, this was the only part we were disappointed in....

8) The appendices were excellent, it ia always hard to know what needs to be left out! ...This was well balanced with far more information given than we would have hoped and it is accepted easily by both medically aware and lay people... very useful indeed.

Reviewed by Suzanne Berkeley

Suzanne Berkeley SRN/RMN is the Personnel Officer for the OMS International (UK) Team, Manchester