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Staying Healthy on the Road Medical info, e.g. malaria, vaccinations, travel medical tips, medical insurance, where to find a doctor.
Photo by Ellen Delis, Lagunas Ojos del Campo, Antofalla, Catamarca

I haven't been everywhere...
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Photo by Ellen Delis,
Lagunas Ojos del Campo,
Antofalla, Catamarca

Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance.

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Old 30 May 2002
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: London
Posts: 60

hello all,

does anybody know of a good insurance policy that will cover medical evacuation from africa in case of emergency?

is this necessary, or do most people not bother?

also, is it advisable to have a satalite phone in africa for emergencies or am i being paranoid?

thanks for your help.
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Old 2 Jun 2002
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Cairo, Egypt
Posts: 456
It a good idea to carry a sat phone anyway but keep it concealed until needed, and don’t use it in front of officials (check points, etc.) But who are you gonna call? Check to see if there are rescue operations in the country you’re in and always carry those number. Also carry the number of your local embassies just in case. There’s no point calling London when you’re stuck in the Sahara .

If you carry one of the GSM based sat phone then you’ll find the SMS service very useful and costs next to nothing. Turn on the phone every night to get and send your messages.

OasisPhoto.com – Images from the Magical Sahara.
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Old 4 Jun 2002
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I have heard and actually met people who found help with field hospitals from the Red Cross and Doctors without borders. it might be an idea to contact these organisations to find out where they have field operations going on in remote area's. I met a nurse from Doctors Without Borders who managed to evacuated hereself to a Red Cross field hospital in Kenia after she crashed with a small plane coming from Ethioupia. It safed her life.

About insurance companies and SAR operations. If you can get a hold of them and the area you're in is covered they probable contact the local army through your goverment to ask them if they want to come out and help you. But these diplomatic things might take days to get organised or just not happen at all.

I know there is an international SAR organisation based somewhere in Scandinavia. You need to buy a sattelite transmitter of them. If you are in trouble you have to activate the transmitter and it will then send a signal with you position to the headquarters of the organisations. They then organise the SAR. In sailing this system is very often used and basicly the only one that is usable on sea / ocean. But it is expensive and I am not sure you're insurance would cover the cost of a rescue of this scale.

Why not get a good EMT training yourself (see http://www.wildmed.com/ ) and take a good first aid kit with you. That might help you quite a bit already.
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Old 4 Jun 2002
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Canada
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I recently became aware of Medjet Assistance, which charges $175 per year for membership. http://www.medjetassistance.com/

Michael Paull used their services when he was injured recently in China, and had to be evacuated to Seattle. He gave them a glowing endorsement.
"... After an additional three days in Beijing, I was deemed stable enough for air evacuation back to the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, WA, in the company of my wife Aillene (who had flown in from Japan), and a air transport trauma nurse provided by the company that I had procured medical evacuation insurance from, MEDJET Assistance - without doubt, the best insurance coverage I have ever purchased in my life.

A small plug here - these people were remarkable, and I hope to provide some further information about them in a future update. If there was ever a better case for '...don't leave home without it.', MEDJET Assistance is at the top of my checklist, no matter where I travel (and I hope to do a LOT more)."
Their website isn't crystal clear on whether they cover non-USA / Canadian residents, so I have sent them an e-mail to clarify, and will advise when I get an official response.

But if they do, then it's probably a good thing to have. Travelling overland on a motorcycle is inherently more risky than taking a packaged tour to the Costa del Sol, and accidents do happen. I think we'll use this service for our next overland trip across Asia.

Susan Johnson

"It matters not what goal you seek
Its secret here reposes:
You've got to dig from week to week
To get Results or Roses."
Edgar Guest

'One world, two wheels'
Susan Johnson

Inspiring, Informing and Connecting travellers since 1997
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