As we wrap up the year, December 2023 sees a changing health landscape.  To help you make decisions and to keep you aware of the issues affecting health and medical assistance, we have picked a few core issues shaping our world you may wish to explore further.

Tourism back to pre-pandemic levels 

International tourism is on track to recover almost 90% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year. According to the latest data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), an estimated 975 million tourists travelled internationally between January and September 2023, an increase of 38% on the same months of 2022.

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Trans rights in healthcare guidelines announced by WHO

WHO has announced the development of a guideline on the health of trans and gender diverse people. Issues surrounding trans rights are important to healthcare, as many people may not feel they can express their true feelings in their culture. Some countries may not recognise, or might even punish trans and gender diverse people so these guidelines represent a real step forward.

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Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in the U.S. 

Cutaneous leishmaniasis, a tropical disease, is now being detected in the U.S. among people with no international travel history. The question is raised whether climate change is a contributing factor. Most of the positive samples came from people who had traveled to countries where cutaneous leishmaniasis was endemic, but 86 people who were infected had not traveled outside the U.S. Sand flies (known as “vectors” of the disease) pick the parasite up from feeding on infected animals. These animal “reservoirs” maintain the disease in specific geographical locations.

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Decrease in medical personnel identified in Cuba

In what is being called and ’emigration exodus’ Cuba has seen a significant decrease in medical personnel, with fewer doctors and nurses. This raises concerns for those travelling around the area. While the reports suggest lower levels of those entering training, indicating a more significant future issue, it may be appropriate in case of medical emergencies for individuals to be flown to the U.S., particularly areas such as Florida. 

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Stay informed

These updates are just a few global health challenges and changes. As always, we recommend the following sites for up to  date information.