What medications can we take and where can we take them, what vaccines should we consider, how should we take care of ourselves before the journey and why we cannot accumulate sleep in advance – answers to those and many other questions were answered at the first Travel Medicine Conference. Medical doctors, representatives of airport medical staff and tourism industry talked about the issues like medical care at the airports in Poland and around the world and the challenges faced at the airports by people with disabilities. Areas of possible cooperation between various institutions involved in matters concerning travel medicine were also discussed.
The journey begins at home and good preparation allows you not only to arrive safely at your destination, but also to return home healthy. This may sound like a cliché, but unfortunately it is very often ignored. Dr. Agnieszka Szarowska, who talked about restrictions and requirements concerning taking along to another country a supply of pharmaceuticals reminded us that in not so far away past, long distance travel use to be available to only to a small group of privileged people. Trips back then were well planned ahead of time. Today, people can fly to exotic destinations on a short notice, without much preparations and often without seeing a doctor, or consulting a physician only on a short notice prior to the departure. In addition, people are very rarely able to precisely determine the full scope of the journey or range of activities, which further hinders proper medical advice – said Prof. Krzysztof Korzeniewski, specialist in marine and tropical medicine, epidemiology, dermatology and venereology, professor at the Military Institute of Medicine in Warsaw, head of the Department of Epidemiology and Tropical Medicine in Gdynia, who opened the conference. Professor is the author of a book on Travel Medicine, as well as a brochure for tourists.
Other than lectures on travel medicine, including issues like mental health in the context of sleep quality, venous thrombosis, standards of medical services at various airports were also discussed. The point of reference was the presentation of Aidan Perihan, head of medics at the Istanbul’s airport, where the number of employees associated with medical care exceeds 220 people.
The main advantage of the conference, apart from gathering in one place of all the professionals related to issues concerning travel medicine, was also the opportunity to focus on needs and requirements of passengers with various disabilities. Many travellers are not aware that they can obtain handicap support free of charge at the airport. This is a very important issue, as there are more and more people with mobility disabilities using air travel. As it was stated by Jakub Kluziński, the CEO of WELCOME, a company offering airport ground handling and so-called PRM services, last year more than 12 000 people with disabilities were served at Warsaw Chopin Airport.
The conference took place on March 23, 2023 in Warsaw. It was organized by the V4+ Airports Association with the support of the District Medical Chamber in Warsaw and various partners of the event. Thanks to live on-line broadcast It was attended by representatives of the worlds’ medical profession, scientific communities and airports from Poland and around the world.