Malaria is a potential problem in Botswana – especially in the wet season. The further north in Botswana you travel, the greater the exposure to malarial carrying mosquitoes. It is wise to seek medical opinion in your home country before you travel. Anti malarial tablets are easily available in Botswana.
Bilharzia is less of a risk and easily avoidable. The parasite is found in the watered areas of the Okavango and the northern rivers. It is therefore suggested not to swim or come into contact with still water during your visit.
Many of us aware that Botswana, like other African countries, has its fair share of other small creatures like scorpions, snakes, spiders and ticks. The risk of being bitten by venomous creepy crawlies is very low. It is interesting to note that snakebites are not common and rarely fatal. They tend to slide out of sight when disturbed. Medical attention is, however, easily available as are medical evacuations from even the remotest area of the country. It is highly recommended that suitable travel insurance is taken out before travelling to Botswana.
HIV and AIDS is sadly a fact of life in many African countries and this is also true about Botswana. The government is taking radical steps to tackle the HIV and AIDS issue in Botswana with informative educational programmes in schools, through a host of NGOs operating in the country and in its clinics and hospitals. There has been significant success in treatment of mother-to-child transmissions at hospitals (e.g. in Francistown) which is slowly helping to ensure a future generation that is relatively HIV-free. HIV and AIDS does not, of course, pose a direct health risk to visitors.
Apart from malarial prophylactics, recommended inoculations include:
- Hepatitis A
- Yellow Fever (if you are travelling to/from East Africa and Zambia)
You can also check out latest information on the World Health Organisation website: http://www.who.in/