New diseases can appear and spread suddenly. Water-borne, food-borne, mosquito-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including flu, cholera, hepatitis, tuberculosis, typhoid and rabies) are common around the world, with serious outbreaks occurring from time to time.
The Zika virus outbreak in South America is an example where the media has increased awareness through its raising of concern amongst the public. The media unfortunately often lacks (or omits to report) clear facts, at times omitting entire stories that may be important to travelers. The recent Swine Flu outbreak in Eastern Europe is an example where the media has been disinterested, even though it has resulted in 185 deaths in the Ukraine alone.
It is important travellers are aware of all the factors that can impinge on their health and wellbeing while overseas, not just items that make media headlines like terrorism or Geo-political concerns.
Accessing information, being prepared and staying informed
The University has in place a number of processes to ensure that staff and students are alerted to the dangers and risks of travelling overseas.
Students on overseas study are required to register through Global Learning. The University has a central system for documenting all students studying overseas. Please visit the Global Learning Website for more information.
By booking your University travel through Campus Travel staff and students are automatically register to receive Red24 alerts (to their SMS or email) on critical information related to their local vicinity. This alert system enables the traveller to confirm they have received the information, which in turn lets the University know you are aware.
Booking through Campus Travel is also critical to ensuring you are covered by the University’s comprehensive Travel Insurance policy when your travel is related to University business. Once covered the insurer can help you with medical assistance, including emergency medical evacuation, repatriation and delivery of essential medicine or drugs when these (or local equivalent) are not available at your location.
Registering travel with DFAT and checking traveller advice
All overseas travellers are advised to register their travel with the Australian Government via Smartraveller, see here . Registration provides travellers with a number of essential services such as government alerts (SMS or email) and ensures quick and easy access to Consular or Embassy assistance during crisis or emergency.
Its important to familiarise yourself with the advice provided by DFAT on your destination. This comprehensive advice covers all aspects that could impact on your health, safety or wellbeing.
Travellers should pay particular attention to vaccination advice and should get advice from their medical practitioner on their immunisation status. It is important to note that some vaccines need to be administered up to three months before travel to ensure effectiveness.
High Risk travel approval
Where DFAT advises travellers to “Reconsider their travel” or “Do not Travel” the University has an process whereby a risk assessment and controls are considered and authorised by the Vice-Chancellor.
University travellers should note that if an emergency or issue develops in a country you are currently located in and travellers are advised by DFAT to “Reconsider their travel” or “Do not travel” they should.
- Contact their supervisor in Australia to let them know their location and that they are OK: and
- If they want to remain in the country, complete the process to get authorisation from the Vice-Chancellor to remain.
For further information please contact the HSW Hub.