Knowledge and Self-Reported Practice of Travel Medicine Among Primary Health Care Physicians Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Dr. Ahmed M Al Ali

Joint Program Family & Community Medicine, Jeddah – 2014

Background:  Travel medicine concerned with the protection of health and prevention of disease that may occur among international travelers. As the Primary health care physicians represent the main level of care responsible mostlyfor preventive services, consequently the current study aim at exploring the level of knowledge and practice of primary health care physicians regarding travel medicine.

Subjects and Methods: Through a cross-sectional design of 196 primary health care physicians who were selected from 46 primary health care centers to complete pre-designed self-administered questionnaire that was prepared to explore their level of knowledge and practice of to travel medicine.

Results: Of the 196 primary care physicians who participated, the result show that lower percentage (25%) only provided travel medicine services, with an average number of two travelers saw per month and (83.2%) reported that they are not providing any written information for their travelers. Only one-quarter of them knew that travelers’ counseling should be carried out at least 4-6 weeks before traveling. Slightly more than one-third of the physicians (38.3%) achieved an acceptable level of knowledge. The percentage was significantly much lower among general practitioners (22.9%).

Conclusion and Recommendations :The primary health care physicians are not adequately prepared to provide an acceptable level of travel medicine, as they have a lowlevel of knowledge and practice. Furthermore, as travel medicine is not included formally within the primary health care system, it is provided only as an individual initiative from few minorities who are interested in it.  It is recommended to introduce Travel medicine within the elements of the primary health care as an integral component of the preventive services and considered as one of the main training topics provided to physicians with updated information according to the worldwide preventive health recommendations.

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