A good medical insurance policy, with an emergency air evacuation facility, is strongly advised, as most medical facilities are poor. This can be obtained at any travel agency.
The whole of Mozambique is all year-round a high-risk malaria area. It is essential that you consult your doctor for the most appropriate prophylaxis. Infants and young children (especially those under the age of five years) are particularly at risk of severe malaria disease, as malaria can develop and progress very rapidly. Since anti-malarial drugs may cause side effects, the seriousness of any side effect should always be weighed up against the risk.
It is best to avoid a mosquito bite. This can be done by sleeping under a mosquito net and to apply mosquito repellent. Malaria is one of the most serious tropical diseases in the world. This disease can be fatal, if it is not diagnosed and treated at an early stage. The high-risk malaria time is from October to May, especially during the rainy season in the summer.
- If possible, remain indoors between dusk and dawn
- Sleep under a mosquito net
- Don’t wear dark clothing, especially at night
- Wear clothing that covers most of the body after dark
- Use repellent on exposed body parts after dark
- Burn mosquito coils after dark
- Avoid marshy areas
- Protect your ankles; mosquitoes prefer that part of your body. Thick socks are not sufficient – ensure you use repellent
Cholera is prominent in many areas in Mozambique, especially in highly populated slum areas found on the outskirts of the bigger towns.
Use water only from clean supplies. Water for drinking purposes can be boiled, or bottled mineral water can be bought. By adding a teaspoon of chlorine or Milton to your water most harmful bacteria and organisms will be killed.
Don’t buy shellfish in areas were diseases such as cholera exist, as the shellfish accumulate the bacteria in their gills through their filtering system.
First aid kit
Take a well-stocked medical kit. Ensure you include items, such as:
- Anti-malaria tablets
- Malaria test kit
- Malaria treatment course
- Insect repellent
- Drawing ointment
- Antiseptic ointment and wipes
- Sunburn cream
- Antifungal cream
- Antihistamine cream for stings
- Anti-diarrhoea tablets,
- Pain killers
- Analgesic ear drops
- Eye drops
- Oral dehydration powder
- Sterile syringes
- Cotton wool
- Anti-inflammatory tablets
- Surgical spirits
Avoid getting stung by bluebottles or jellyfish, which may be floating in the ocean or lying on the shore, particularly after or during strong onshore wind conditions.
If stung, apply surgical spirits then antihistamine cream (or meat tenderiser) to the affected area, after gently removing any tentacles that remain on your skin. Immersing the affected area in hot water (be careful not to cause scalding) will also bring relief. Stings from sea creatures like the stonefish or lion fish, must also be treated by immersion (and re-immersion) in water, as hot as the patient can bear. This breaks down the protein poisons.
Mozambique is left with the tragic legacy of many land mines, due to the 17 year-long civil war. A thorough mine-clearing operation has swept many roads clear. Follow sensible precautions, like sticking to well-used roads and trails, and do not walk off into the bush. Areas known to be mined are marked with a red and white ‘skull and crossbones’ sign, or may be cordoned off with red tape and “zonas minades” signs. Always consult with locals about the possibility of “minas”, before venturing off into unfamiliar territory.
This information is out of the owners’ own experiences. Please consult a professional or medical practitioner for any medical or legal advice.