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South Africans' attitudes to medical travel consultation, post-lockdown

Healthcare globally has received much focus since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Medicine-purchasing behaviour has changed, and so has the practice of medical consultation. Borderless Access conducted a survey to understand perceptions around medical travel consultations and what advice people will seek from medical professionals, once travel restrictions open up. These findings, which span South Africa, Nigeria and eight other countries, also uncover behaviour around the purchase and stocking up of medicine.

People more likely to consult medics before travelling in future

Globally, 44% of people still believe they will travel in 2020. Sub-Saharan Africa is very conservative in this regard, with only 33% of South Africans and 41% of Nigerians planning to travel this year.

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However, irrespective of how soon they plan to travel, 50% of people are likely to take medical consultation before travelling, going forward. This sentiment is driven strongly by both Nigeria and South Africa.

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The most common reason for medical travel consultations will be for general health check-ups and full-body checks. Some patients will consult in order to get vaccines or anti-flu medication more than ever. South Africans are particularly interested in consulting medics before travel to get the flu or other vaccines, while Nigerians see the main purpose of such a visit as being for a general health check-up.

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Over two-thirds of people plan to get the pneumococcal vaccine

Although the results are not yet conclusive, there is a belief that the pneumococcal vaccine may help to prevent secondary infections resulting due to Covid-19. Overall, we found that 25% of people have had the vaccination since the crisis emerged, and 37% plan to have it in future.
Since the beginning of the outbreak approximately half of consumers have stocked up on medication, the majority of this being over-the-counter and prescribed medications. People also stocked up on medication for their children, as well as on immunity boosters.

Both South Africa and Nigeria see a particularly high incidence of stocking up on immunity boosters, reiterating the reliance on vitamin supplements that we saw in our Covid-19 report.

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Pharmacies remain the primary location for purchasing medication

Neighbourhood pharmacies remain the most popular choice for purchasing medical supplies, with this type of store being particularly important to South Africans and Nigerians. A quarter of people globally are purchasing them online and 9% are ordering via phone - although both or these are much lower than the global average in sub-Saharan Africa.

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The country of origin of medication is becoming a more prevalent fact in the minds of consumers. At least 54% of people are likely to pay more attention to this going forward.

Opportunities for medical professionals and retailers

The findings of this research present opportunities for medical professionals to offer comprehensive travel medical consultations – especially digitally, as we saw in our previous article. It also speaks to the medical retail sector, which can explore ways to leverage online and phone-based purchases. Globally, countries need to be aware of concerns arising around the origin of medication, and the need to address this accordingly.

As the new world unfolds, Borderless Access can continue to uncover insights and help you to track your market data, using our pre-profiled online panel across sectors, including healthcare. For more information or to discuss how we can help you to collect your data digitally, please contact us.

To read our global report, please request it here.

Borderless AccessBorderless Access is a digital MR company, providing access to consumer and niche audience experiences to its global clientele with its first-party online panels and its products and research solutions.
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