British Travel Health Association 13th Annual Conference - Travel Health from a Global Perspective

 The 2011 Annual Scientific Meeting was held on 1st October at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine with a theme of "Travel Health from a Global Perspective". The programme included presentations on the following topics:

Travel Medicine and Global Health

  • Global Challenges for Travel medicine in the 21st Century
  • Travellers' Experience of Local Health Provision
  • Demonstration of the new BTHA website
  • Student Presentations: Cholera in Ghana and HIV/AIDS in South Africa

Workshops: Carrying and Obtaining Medicines Overseas and Case Studies on Health

  • Preparation for the Long Term Traveller
  • Responsible Travel - Who's Responsible
  • Debate: "What efect will the NHS reforms have on the practice of travel medicine?"

President of the BTHA Dr Iain MacIntosh opened the 13th Annual conference with a welcome address.

Dr Eric Walker gave an eloquent presentation describing the interdependence between Global Health and Travel Medicine, stressing the need for a level playing field and a shared health responsibility. All is not good in wealthy countries! All is not bad in poorer countries! E.g. host countries have responsibilities for travellers’ health as well as home countries.

The keynote lecture sponsored by the ISTM, was presented by Prof Louis Loutan, Head of International and Humanitarian Medicine, Geneva. Professor Loutan presented recent developments and the global challenges facing modern Travel Medicine.

Glasgow University students Carron Meney and Kristen Laing shared their medical elective experiences in Ghana and South Africa respectively. The 4th year students’ professional presentations gave a good overall view of health care provision in the hospitals in which they had worked. Carron also presented a nice and concise summary of Vibro cholerae.

At the Annual General Meeting, chaired by Dr.Julie Gallagher, there was unanimous support for the proposed changing of the name of the organisation to the British Global and Travel Health Association (BGTHA). A BTHA Fellowship award was presented to Ms Fiona Genasi for her outstanding contribution to the field of Travel Health.

Local health provision for travellers was presented by Dr Iain McIntosh. Dr.McIntosh described the reality state health care in many countries and discussed the the importance and also difficulty in obtaining adequate travel insurance, especially for the elderly. Ms Sheila Hall gave a thought-provoking view on responsibility in the travel industry with particular focus on concept of 'voluntourism'.

Workshops were lead by Prof Larry Goodyear looking at issues around carrying and obtaining medicines overseas, while Dr Ted Lankester led an interactive discussion on preparing longer term travellers based on case studies, incorporating Occupational Health aspects. Mental as well as physical health issues were highlighted .The importance of support for those working abroad was emphasised and the reality of this support debated.

Webmaster Dr Mike Townend demonstrated developments and resources on the BTHA website and gave advised members on how to use the new search function.

Finally, Dr George Kassianos chaired a lively debate on the potential impact of current government policy of GP Commissioning and general NHS reforms on the practice of Travel Medicine in the UK. Professor Larry Goodyer and Mr James Moore represented our pharmacy and nursing colleagues respectively.