Health Information & International Partners
Gaining access to medical care while at sea or even in port can be extremely difficult for seafarers. To assist seafarers in need, USS Center Directors provide a comprehensive list of doctors, dentists, medical facilities and specialists. They also maintain strong relationships with medical providers so that seafarers can gain swift access to doctors on short notice. USS staff is welcoming and supportive and offers a listening ear to seafarers who are dealing with personal and professional problems, family matters legal issues and medical concerns. As a member of the umbrella organization, the International Committee on Seafarer’s Welfare (ICSW), USS participates in the Seafarer’s Health Information Program (SHIP), a public information campaign on health issues that directly impact seafarers. The messages focus on the lifestyle of the individual seafarer, in relation to the living conditions onboard a ship. While onboard, seafarers are isolated from medical care, both in emergency situations and for primary healthcare.
SHIP provides preventative health information via a variety of media, including booklets, posters, videos, DVDs, and via the web at www.seafarershealth.org.
Health issues currently being addressed by SHIP:
- Food Safety – safety in handling, preparing and the storage of food.
- Fit On Board – tips for improving fitness aboard the ship.
- Safe Travel – guidelines for safe travel and staying healthy.
- Healthy Food – advice on healthy food and good eating habits.
- Malaria – guidelines to prevent this common illness among seafarers.
- Overweight – tools to reduce and control weight.
- HIV/AIDS and STDs – information on prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
International partnerships are increasingly important in order for USS to raise awareness and address welfare issues affecting today’s seagoing workforce. These collaborative partnerships bring together organizations from many regions of the world and all segments of the maritime industry, including governments, industry, labor and welfare organizations, to share experience and coordinate projects and activities that benefit seafarers.
USS partners with a number of organizations in support of seafarers’ welfare projects; including the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN), the Finish Seamen’s Service (FSS), the International Confederation of Water Transport Workers’ Union (ICWTWU) in Russia, the City of Yokohama in Japan, and the Apostleship of the Sea.
In recent years, the ITF Seafarers’ Trust has been a key partner in providing USS with financial grants for capital improvements and center renovations including our current project of renovating the USS center in Busan, Korea. USS also received a $32,600.00 grant to purchase a new seven passenger van for USS Casablanca to transport seafarers from their ships to the center.