Top Ranking Cities for Health, Safety and Security List. Scrap it!

a version of this essay by Andy Kozlov appeared in the March 2012 issue Hello Harare! 

The opening of the new drug resistant tuberculosis ward at Nhlangano Health Centre in the Shiselweni region of southern Swaziland (Image courtesy of MSF)

I have a friend, an Ukrainian like me, who is used to hopping between countries without a medical insurance. When he was getting ready for his first trip to Zimbabwe, he needed to face the hassle of (re)-immunization. So to get the 1/3 (one out of three) shot against Hepatitis B, he went to a clinic in Rome. He later got his 2/3 in Donetsk, and a year after (while already here) pocketed out US dollars for the shot number three at a private clinic in Avondale.

It was too late for him to get an anti-typhoid booster, so the doctors in Italy gave him a pill, which is said to protect you for a year. So again, our hero had to visit Avondale a year after and produce 50 bucks for the shot.’Fortunately,’ Hepatitis A is like flu in Ukraine (not the pig one of Mexico).  So having contracted it as a child, our hero has a life-long protection. –Huh, saved at least on that! (The HIV/AIDS rate in some parts of Ukraine is up in arms to compete with that of Southern Africa, but let’s not go into that.)

“Hundred dollars for the X-ray, 50 for the dental work. –But what can you do?” – he sometimes tells me with evident exasperation “What other options do you have staying in any given country for less than a month?”

Top Ranking Cities for Health, Safety and Security in 2011 (source PriceWaterhouseCoopers ‘Cities of Opportunity‘ via Monocle)

  1. Stockholm
  2. Toronto
  3. Chicago
  4. San Francisco
  5. Sydney
  6. Houston
  7. Berlin
  8. Singapore
  9. New York
  10. Tokyo
Kharkiv oblast children’s hospital (Image courtesy of streets-kharkiv.info)

From this list, if you want to enjoy health, safety and security go to Scandinavia. Forget the planes, unless you can hold your breath throughout the flight. I wasn’t that skilled, and was knocked down by a cold picked somewhere between Jo’burg and Munich.

No worries for you  going to those low-on-the-list places that have huge potential. There will always be the right clinic with the right vaccine in Mbabane or Kharkiv (Харків/Харьков). Fingers crossed!

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