Travelling through Burkina Faso is always going to be a trip across some arduous land. But like most African nations, travellers better be prepared for some health issues.
All the normal ‘nasties‘ await your arrival, so it‘s better to be prepared when it comes to staying healthy and fit.
Falling ill in West Africa is never a pleasant experience, so research what you are in for before you go…it‘s always good to be over-prepared in these regions.
Whatever you do, taking risks in Burkina Faso isn‘t a good idea. Emergency health care can be non-existent in some regions.
The capital, Ouagadougou, does have ambulances and hospitals but areas outside the main city are definitely not the best equipped.
Short supply of emergency health can leave you stranded when you need it most.
And if they do get to you, ambulances in Burkina Faso or most countries in West Africa, are never going to be amazing.
Do yourself a favour and think carefully about what you do. Travelling in these areas means you need to think extra about the risks you are willing to take.
And so you know, medical evacuation can sometimes cost around US$100,000.
As a result, travel insurance may provide cover if you suffer a sudden illness or serious injury (or you die) overseas and you require emergency medical transport or repatriation home for medical reasons. The 24/7 emergency assistance team will need to be contacted to coordinate this.
Medicines are another dilemma in Burkina Faso. Similar to the ambulance situation, basic medical supplies aren‘t always available.
The best advice is to grab what you need for your stay in the country…then pack extra. You can never carry too much medicine or simple first aid equipment. West Africa isn‘t an easy travelling location, so prepare wisely. Here's a informative article on what to consider packing in your first aid kit before you go.
Burkina follows the same disease path as most African nations.
It‘s situated perfectly in the Meningitis Belt, so they aren‘t diseases to be scoffed at. Safer than sorry should be your motto before touching down.
A quick visit to any travel doctor is always a good idea. It may seem over-the-top at the time, but it will be your best friend when you see exactly what the diseases can do.
To be honest, travelling while fit and healthy is better than being sick.
Meningitis is endemic in Burkina Faso, and cases are most frequent during the drier, dustier months of January through June. Travellers should confirm that their meningitis A, C, Y, W, 135 inoculations are up to date.
For further information on meningitis and how to avoid it, check out this guide.
Malaria is also a constant problem in Burkina Faso…it‘s a huge risk in most African nations. Best advice is to take anti-malaria tablets, and cover up at night.
Prevent being bitten by mosquitoes and you will stay healthy. Read this for some easy tips on preventing mosquito bites.
Yellow Fever is transmitted during daylight hours by the Aedes mosquito. You can vaccinate against this disease which will last 10 years and it is advised that you carry a vaccination certificate as it is needed to enter Burkina Faso. Yellow Fever exhibits flu-like symptoms and at worst, liver inflammation. Read here to find out more how you can protect yourself from mosquito bites.
The other disease plaguing Burkina Faso is tuberculosis. This nasty disease may seem an ailment of the past, but it‘s alive and well in various regions across Africa.
Not to scare travellers too much, but water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, cholera, yellow fever, hepatitis, bilharzia, measles and polio)
In a short answer, no. It's crucial you treat all water you plan to consume while travelling around the country to avoid contracting water-borne diseases.
So be wise and get prepared…it may just keep you healthy.
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