Representatives from all the Travel Doctor clinics throughout Australia got together in Brisbane on the weekend of 16- 17th June for the organisation’s Annual Medical Meeting. In opening the proceedings the National Medical Advisor, Dr Tony Gherardin, stressed the importance of being able to share knowledge, ideas and experiences to arrive at consistency in the advice offered to the travelling public. The main focus of this year’s meeting was on geographic areas in Africa, South America and South-East Asia and the possible health hazards facing travellers especially now that new areas are being opened up to both adventurous and regular tourists. These sessions were preceded by an update on changes to the now century old National Quarantine Act by the Director for Health Protection and Surveillance, a fascinating review of research work on a possible malaria vaccine being carried out at Griffith University and a valuable summary of vaccination in immune-suppressed patients. The latter is particularly important because of the increasingly widespread use of immune-suppressing drugs in a variety of illnesses.
The mixture of theory and practice covered by the program, the variety of speakers both external and from within, and the opportunity for social interaction between colleagues still separated by distance even in an electronic age, provided a valuable experience which should translate into the maintenance of the high value of advice offered by Travel Doctor clinics.