By Sammi Taylor | @sammiiitaylor
International Students in Victoria can now access a new health service, designed to make being sick while living away from home a little bit less daunting.
The Allianz Assistance Student Health line is a 24/7 remote medical service that allows International Students to seek help and advice from a qualified doctor over the phone or via video link.
Allianz Global Assistance, in partnership with Telstra ReadyCare, launched the program in Victoria yesterday as part of a 12 month pilot scheme. If the service succeeds, it will be rolled out nationally to all Australian tertiary institutions.
Julie Brown, Allianz Global Assistance’s Health & LifeCare General Manager, says that the service aims to make health-care easier and more convenient for those who are thousands of kilometres away from home.
“There are over 25,000 international students studying in Victoria and we understand that living away from home can be daunting, especially when you’re sick. [The service] is available around the clock, 365 days a year which makes it possible for students to access a doctor after hours, on weekends or while travelling,” Brown says.
“This service will not only benefit overseas students but also the wider community as we’re reducing the risk of infection travelling through GP and hospital waiting rooms.”
The service works through phone and video calls, with patients able to upload pictures of their condition and talk to qualified medical professionals. Students can receive fast medical advice and even prescriptions for a number of ailments, including cold and flu, skin conditions and stomach bugs.
William Hao, RUSU’s International Officer was contacted for comment but unable to be reached by time of publication.
The Allianz Assistance Student Health Line direct bills for appointments, meaning that there are is no cost to the student. It’s a financial burden lifted from many International Students shoulders, many of whom pay high rent costs in student accommodation and are not granted Commonwealth Supported Places at university.
In 2014, RMIT International student Vinh Vo told Catalyst that high living costs and financial burdens were negatively impacting his education.
“I have to work every week, during school I work…20 to 25 hours, but in the holidays I work around 30 to 40 hours. It’s hard because there isn’t much support for [international students],” he said.
Currently, over 11,000 International Students have chosen to study at RMIT University.
International students can call Allianz Assistance Student Health Line on 1800 854 344 or find out more at www.allianz-assistance.com.au.