Striking differences in the type of healthcare needed by expats around the world have been revealed by Bupa International, the world's largest expatriate health insurer.
Colonoscopies topped the league table of the most common procedures carried out on BUPA International's eight million members worldwide, followed by Caesarean births. Caesareans are most popular in Africa where expats living there are 30 percent more likely to have a Caesarean delivery than their counterparts in Europe.
Investigative procedures such as scans are the most common operation in Europe. Expats there have more colonoscopies than those in Africa, Asia and the Middle East combined. Gastroscopies (an examination of the gullet, stomach and small intestines) follow closely behind as the second most common procedure in Europe; however, they are rare elsewhere and do not feature at all in the most popular procedures in the Middle East.
Bupa's associate medical director Dr Sneh Khemka says: "It's clear that expats around the world have different health needs. The climate, culture and cuisine of the country they live in is likely to affect their health and well being over time, but these figures show that certain procedures are more common in some parts of the world than others. This could be because of trends in medical practice in the region or it could be down to local factors such as accessibility to specialist hospitals and treatment centres."
The survey also shows that:
- Expats in Africa have more operations to remove their appendix than those in any other region of the world.
- Expats in the Middle East have more operations to remove their gall bladder than those in any other region of the world.
- Operations to repair a hernia are common in the Middle East but rare everywhere else.
- Operations to remove skin lesions and moles are common in most regions of the world.
- Operations to remove cataracts feature in the top ten procedures in every region of the world.
Dr Sneh Khemka adds: "When you're living and working abroad having peace of mind about your health and care is a priority. Bupa International offers its members advice on specific health concerns related to the country they are living in, as well as access to multi-lingual health advisers who can provide advice about local healthcare facilities in every region of the world."