Information About Physicians and Hospitals Abroad

Sunday, November 01 2009 11:10

U.S. embassies and consulates abroad usually keep lists of physicians and hospitals in their area. Major credit card companies also can provide the names of local doctors and hospitals abroad. Many HMO medical plans have international partner hospitals in case there is a need for medical attention when traveling. Please check with your provider.


Under international health regulations adopted by the World Health Organization, a country may require international certificates of vaccination against yellow fever and cholera. Typhoid vaccinations are not required for international travel, but are recommended for areas where there is risk of exposure.

The Minnesota Department of Health can help with any questions about health related concerns of international travel. The Department website,, can be utilized to find local international health clinics and an international travel brochure that outlines the basic health concerns of traveling abroad.

The information is also available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 24-hour hotline at 1-888-232-3228 or at their website

If vaccinations are required, they must be recorded on approved forms, such as those in the booklet PHS-731, International Certificates of Vaccination as Approved by the World Health Organization.

Documentation for Medications

If you go abroad with preexisting medical problems, you should carry a letter from your doctor describing your condition, including information on any prescription medicines that you must take. You should also have the generic names of the drugs. Leave medicines in their original, labeled containers. These precautions make customs processing easier. A doctor's certificate, however, may not suffice as authorization to transport all prescription drugs to all foreign countries. To ensure that you do not violate the drug laws of the countries that you visit, you may consult the embassy or consulate of those countries for precise information before you leave the United States.

International Safety Tips

Protect Your Passport

Your passport is the most valuable document that you will carry abroad. It confirms your U.S. citizenship. Please guard it carefully.

When entering some countries or registering at hotels, you may be asked to fill out a police card listing your name, passport number, destination, local address, and reason for travel. You may be required to leave your passport at the hotel reception desk overnight so that it may be checked by local police officials. These are normal procedures required by local laws. If your passport is not returned the following morning, immediately report the impoundment to local police authorities and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Guard Against Thieves

Coat pockets, handbags, and hip pockets are particularly susceptible to theft. Thieves will use all kinds of ploys to divert your attention just long enough to pick your pocket and grab your purse or wallet. Try to prevent theft by carrying your belongings in a secure manner. Do not make it easy for thieves!