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  • Travelling through the eyes of a doctor

    Medical students at the University of Debrecen are learning about jet-lag, travel-induced stress, holiday traumas and preparation of patients with chronic diseases on a travel medicine course considered to be unique in Europe.

    The one-hundred year-old medical training at Debrecen University offers numerous future-oriented specialities which make the Faculty of Medicine attractive both domestically and internationally. One of these is travel medicine, part of a programmme taught in English and Hungarian, which was first introduced into graduate and postgraduate studies in Debrecen in 2009. The University of Debrecen is the only place in Hungary where this young branch of medicine is taught, and it is only our university that offers practising doctors further training in this field.

    - Compared with the older generation, young doctors are facing more and more novel challenges in the field of medical sevices. Travelling is one of the most popular freetime activities thus teaching travel medicine is indispensable at our university, which offers innovative and world class medical education, László Mátyus told unideb.hu.

    According to the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, providing doctors with knowledge is necessary to efficiently prepare travellers for health problems that could potentially occur during their journey.

    - Most Hungarian travellers travel within Europe, where they are not threatened by infections against which they would need vaccination. Hence very few people see their family doctors for travel advice in spite of the fact that there is a great deal of information that should be made available to the population, said Péter Felkai, professor titular.

    The head of the only travel medicine department in the country working as part of the Department of Internal Medicine and Metabolic Diseases believes that travel councelling may become a new competence for family doctors.

    - In order to be able to help, they also need extensive knowledge in prevention, the restoration of the health of people who have returned and in the care of foreigners in our country, the specialist added.

    This purpose is served at our university by the training offered in travel medicine. The compulsory optional course at the Faculty of Medicine provide medical students with the kind of special knowledge to which they have not had access during their university studies. The teaching material provides basic information about the dangers of sunbathing, the beach, the difficulties involved in travelling with children and safe food and drink consumption.

    - This is an easily digestible subject that offers important information and is of interest to medical students, who receive interesting and diverse knowledge. Among other things, they learn about jet-lag and altitude sickness, travel-induced stress, the aspects of air travel, and the dangers of free time activities and sports, said Péter Felkai.

     

    The training covers discussions of diseases related to travelling that cannot be prevented with vaccination, and the preparation for travelling of patients with chronic diseases such as asthma, heart diseases, rheumatic diseases and diabetes as well as pregnant mothers.

    The Faculty of Medicine of the University of Debrecen also actively participated in compiling the teaching material for the travel medicine course. This Hungarian-language, gap-filling university handbook on travel medicine, which is the only Hungarian publication on this topic, was written by experts of the faculty.

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