Health

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist are available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

The reciprocal healthcare agreement between the UK and Belarus terminated on 26 December 2015.

The standard of health care is below that of the UK. You should bring essential personal medications, as the availability of local supplies can’t be guaranteed. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

Avoid certain foodstuffs including local dairy produce, forest mushrooms and fruits of the forest, which can carry high levels of radiation as a result of contamination from the 1986 accident at Chernobyl in Ukraine.

Otherwise the risk of radioactive contamination from the Chernobyl site is insignificant. There is an exclusion zone immediately around the Chernobyl site, which includes the area close to the border with Ukraine in the south east of Belarus. You may find access to this part of the country is limited.

Don’t drink village well water as it is usually heavily contaminated with impurities. In cities, you should first boil, then filter tap water before drinking. Bottled water is widely available in shops.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 103 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment. Most people in Belarus only speak the Russian or Belarusian languages. You may need to find someone who speaks English to interpret for you.