Medical Resources

Medical Examination 1940It seems to me from talking to my other missionary mom friends around the world, that wading though a foreign medical system is one of the most nerve wracking things for moms overseas. I know it has been for me! It has definitely been one of the greatest areas where I have had to trust God and also where I have had to learn to be resourceful! Here are some useful resources that I’ve stumbled upon over the years that have really helped.

Web MD- This is a website with a ton of medical information. I use it most frequently to cross reference what doctors here have prescribed with what is prescribed in the US. They have a section on their page where you can search medicines by name or by the illnesses that they treat. I wouldn’t recommend self-prescribing, but it is great for making sure that what you’ve been prescribed is safe (which on a number of occasions has not been the case for us).

CDC.gov– This has lots of information on world health concerns, travel health issues, healthy living etc. I had some concerns about TB this year, as far as wondering how effective the vaccine is and how the illness is communicated, and how much at risk we are, and it was quite helpful.

Online vaccine charts for all ages- These are the standard vaccine schedules that our doctors in the US use. This is also on the CDC site and is very helpful if you are wondering if the schedule in your country would be recommended by the US health care system.  We have found that getting vaccines here in Russia is far easier than we would have imagined, even though we don’t have any foreign/international medical centers in our city. I wonder if it might be the same in many parts of the world. There are a small number of pharmaceutical companies that produce the majority of the vaccines worldwide, so it is actually often quite a bit easier than one might think to figure this out cross culturally. I can’t speak for all countries, but our pediatrician said that the vaccines throughout Europe especially should be quite standard compared to the US vaccines, and perhaps even better since they often combine multiple vaccines into one, which diminishes the number of pokes your little one has to endure. Obviously, talk with your doctors on this one, but basically what I am encouraging is to look into doing vaccines where you live if you can so you don’t have to rely on trips back to the US, don’t have to be late on vaccines, and can save some time on your next home assignment by taking care of this stuff on the field. Obviously your judgment on this issue is best for whether your medical system is trust worthy enough.

International SOS- Our organization provides this medical/evacuation insurance for all of its staff members. My team has used its service many times in the past few years. Whether it be just to ask medical advice, have over the phone medical consultations, to find reputable doctors or hospitals in your places of residence, have them be mediators as your are undergoing a medical procedure, or even to provide evacuation for a medical emergency, this company is skilled at handling medical as well as political emergencies in foreign countries. I am not exactly sure what the yearly fee is, but it might be worth looking into if you feel like you have particular need for such services and don’t already have it.

American Academy of Pediatrics- The AAP is probably pretty well known by most of us as it is referenced in so many books and online articles on child health and development related issues. Whether or not you agree 100% with them on everything (I have heard plenty of friends who have differing views on vaccines and parenting and such), it has some great resources. They have lots of interesting articles on developmental stages and various special needs.

Ok, I have a few more, but the kiddos just got up from their nap and it’s time for me to post what I have!

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