Vietnam’s health problems

vietnam’s health problems read like a dictionary of tropical medicine. Diseases that are under control elsewhere in Southeast Asia have been sustained here by poverty, dietary deficiencies, poor healthcare and the disruption caused by half a century of war.

The situation is improving, however, and by coming prepared and taking a few simple precautions while in the country, you’re unlikely to come down with anything worse than a cold or a dose of travellers’ diarrhoea.

When planning your trip it’s wise to visit a doctor as early as possible, preferably at least two months before you leave, to allow time to complete any recommended courses of vaccinations. It’s also advisable to have a trouble-shooting dental check-up – and remember that you generally need to start taking anti-malarial tablets at least one week before your departure.

For up-to-the-minute information, it may be worth visiting a specialized travel clinic; most clinics also sell travel-associated accessories, including mosquito nets and first-aid kits.

Travel tips: A comprehensive list of what to do in hanoi, Vietnam