IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers| IAMAT |International Association of Medical Assistance to Travellers|

Travel Health Journal

Yetunde sitting at a desk.

IAMAT Scholars in action: Expanding travel medicine in Nigeria

We are pleased to introduce you to our latest IAMAT Scholar, Dr. Yetunde Fadipe of Nigeria.

Yetunde received an IAMAT Scholarship to study and train with expert travel medicine faculty in London, UK. Last November, she participated in an intensive 5-day travel medicine course at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The training also involved clinical observations at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases and at the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) where she learned how to provide pre-travel advice to travellers.

IAMAT Scholarships are fully funded through generous donations from IAMAT members. They provide training in travel medicine to practitioners who are passionate about improving care in their community for local patients and travellers.

Here’s what Yetunde, a Consultant Family Physician at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, told us about her experience.

Providing comprehensive care

Through IAMAT’s Scholarship program, doctors and nurses learn how to conduct a pre-travel consultation and how to attend to the medical needs of travellers. In London, Yetunde learned that travel medicine is not just about vaccines or providing advice on malaria: Travel health consultations can be complex and are highly individualized based on a traveller’s destination, itinerary, type of travel and health status.

“The course and clinical observations have given me a broader knowledge of travel medicine, and I will now be able to provide comprehensive and detailed travel medicine advice and services to my patients.  Further, I am now better positioned to provide educational resources to my patients and direct them to information that will enable them to make informed decisions about their health and travel.”

Sharing travel medicine

One of the goals of the scholarships is to foster cross-cultural exchanges in medical knowledge, processes, and procedures. During the course and clinical observations, Yetunde met practitioners and travellers from many countries and diverse backgrounds. When healthcare practitioners are trained in cross-cultural settings, they are better prepared to meet the needs of both local and international patients.

Thanks to the IAMAT Scholarship, Yetunde says she is now better equipped to teach her colleagues and students at her university hospital about travel medicine. She is passionate about improving travel medicine services in her country and hopes that more healthcare providers in Nigeria will become interested in this specialty.

“I hope to expand the travel medicine services in my facility to provide comprehensive travel health services. I also plan to encourage colleagues and other health care providers in both private and public health facilities to develop an interest in travel medicine and consider setting up travel clinics/services as part of their practice.”

To create awareness of travel medicine in Nigeria, Yetunde and her colleagues recently established the ‘Society of Travel Medicine Practitioners in Nigeria’. She hopes the society will provide travel medicine research opportunities to enhance knowledge and improve standards of care for travellers who visit Nigeria as well as Nigerian patients.

Yetunde’s training was made possible with the IAMAT Stella and George Bryant Scholarship.

Dr. Yetunde Fadipe and IAMAT Executive Director, Tullia Marcolongo in London, UK.

Supporting future IAMAT Scholars

IAMAT Scholarships make training accessible to doctors and nurses who need it most. It’s the only program of its kind that offers scholarships to support health practitioners from emerging economies to train in travel medicine. There are limited opportunities for practitioners from countries like Nigeria or Kenya to practice in travel medicine since programs can be prohibitively expensive or non-existent.

IAMAT Scholars, like Yetunde, are dedicated leaders. Upon graduation, our scholars return to their communities to teach their colleagues and apply their new skills to improve healthcare practices in their clinics.

We are expanding our IAMAT scholarship program in 2019. With your support, we can award more scholarships and continue to build a network of experienced travel medicine practitioners.

Learn more about the impact of IAMAT Scholarships.

Article by: Joanna Poblocka 

Edited by: Tullia Marcolongo 

Photos provided by: Yetunde Fadipe; Kevin Thomas