Online doctors available to business travellers to countries with health risks.
Assindustria and Ulss 6 health agency make available to business managers a special unit within the contagious disease ward at. S. Bortolo hospital in Vicenza
Fausto Coppi, the unforgettable champion cyclist, died of malaria. If the disease had been diagnosed in time, he would have survived, just like his friend and fellow cyclist Raphael Géminiani. On the way back to Italy from a hunting expedition in Burkina Faso, a blood test would have been enough to find out the proper treatment and avoid his tragic death.
Now times have changed. At San Bortolo hospital the response from the medical lab comes in less than an hour. Timing is paramount for the contagious and tropical disease ward. Now its most excellent staff, consisting of 10 doctors and 30 nurses who treat over 9 thousand patients every year, are made available to any business travellers to those countries posing health risks.
Yesterday, Roberto Ditri, Vice-President of Assindustria and Head of International Affairs, and Antonio Alessandri, director of the Ulss 6 health agency of Vicenza, signed a memorandum of agreement at Palazzo Bonin Longare. The meeting was also joined by Stefano Acerbi, head of the Foreign Trade Department of Assindustria, Eugenio Fantuz, the health agency's manager, and Gian Pietro Pellizzer, head of the contagious and tropical disease ward.
In doing so, Assindustria intends to offer its members, who boast a leading role in pro capita exports across Italy, a health service available before, during and after their business trip. A business traveller will be “screened” by a doctor, who will be following him step by step and will remain available 24 hours a day.
Mr Ditri's travel experience.
“It all started – said Ditri – out of my personal experience. Last year, on my way back from one of the those countries where health risks are very high, I caught some disease. As soon as I got to Italy, I was hospitalised at Vicenza's hospital where Dr Pellizzer diagnosed my disease. Everything went fine, but I realised that many other businessmen or personnel working abroad could find themselves in danger.
That is the reason why Assindustria, now a benchmark for its member companies, intends to offer the right advice on regulations and customs rules as well as on health issues”.
The agreement – the first of this kind in Italy – was made thanks to the excellence and expertise shown by S. Bortolo hospital. “In this way – said Alessandri – we wanted to point out that Vicenza's health structures can tackle these important issues. Tropical disease do not occur frequently in Italy and therefore require highly skilled doctors to treat them. “.
The tropical disease ward is to be found within a larger national network of experts in tropical disease treatment, which are also in contact with international experts. And now these experts are ready to assist those who made globalisation their own jobs. “There are at least nearly 60 cases of tropical diseases diagnosed and treated every year. They are a lot. Diseases are also travelling faster, as proved by a new subject taught in Firenze named Global Health, which deals with this issue”.
This agreement offers special care to those managers or staff who have to travel, also at the very last minute, to those countries posing high health risks. “They are cared for – said Fantuz and Alessandri – before setting off a journey, especially those who are already treated for other kinds of disease. Then we have them vaccinated. Once in the foreign country, they can ask for a doctor's advice on the phone, Skype or Internet, 24 hours a day. Eventually, once they are back to Italy, they are hospitalised in case of any illness related to their overseas trip”.
© Confindustria Vicenza