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While Mozambique might seem an idyllic paradise for holidaymakers, the country struggles with high levels of poverty and infrastructural issues which facilitate the spread of disease. The public healthcare system in Mozambique is basic and limited. Expats are not entitled to public healthcare so are forced to rely on a handful of private healthcare facilities, most of which are found in Maputo. Most expats, as well as wealthier local people, opt to travel to South Africa for elective procedures.
Public healthcare in Mozambique is unlikely to be of the standards expected by most expats. Public hospitals are subject to frequent staff and supply shortages, and most have excessively long waiting times for even basic care. Some rural areas have little to no public healthcare options, with locals often travelling for hours to get to the nearest government clinic.
It is crucial that expats in Mozambique invest in comprehensive international health insurance to cover the costs of private hospitalization and possible medical evacuation to South Africa.
Private clinics can be found in Maputo and larger cities in Mozambique. Doctors at these medical institutions are often expats themselves and are well-trained, experienced and speak good English.
The Maputo Private Hospital was one of the first private hospitals in Mozambique. It is fully equipped to deal with emergencies as well as obstetrics, paediatrics and radiology. Other private hospitals have opened since, and expats are advised to do careful research about the healthcare facilities in their area.
For more complex procedures or specialist advice, expats often prefer to cross the border into South Africa. As a result, it is important that expats ensure their healthcare policy covers them for treatment in both countries.
Mozambique lies in a malaria zone, so expats should take the necessary precautions. Avoiding mosquito bites by using nets, candles and sprays is recommended, but the safest way to avoid malaria is medication. Anti-malarial pills should be purchased before travelling to Mozambique but additional supplies are usually available at local pharmacies.
Vaccinations for diphtheria, hepatitis A, tetanus and typhoid are advised for those travelling or moving to Mozambique. Bilharzia, a parasitic infection found in fresh water, is also a danger. Tap water in Mozambique is not safe to drink, so bottled or boiled water should be used instead.
Mozambique has a high rate of HIV infection, so expats should actively take precautions to protect themselves. If there is any suspicion of exposure to HIV, antiretroviral drugs are available at private hospitals and clinics.
Pharmacies and medication
Pharmacies in Mozambique tend to be limited to major cities and the capital, Maputo. Medications are mostly imported and everyday medicines are usually available, but because supply can be unreliable expats should always check the expiry dates. It is a good idea to know the generic name for important medications, as brand names vary from country to country.
Emergency medical services
There is no national emergency number in Mozambique. Private ambulances are available in the capital but outside Maputo such services are generally unreliable due to the poor state of the national roads. Expats should keep the contact details for their nearest local hospital on hand for medical emergencies. Air evacuations are often the only option to get to a hospital fast.
Regional healthcare plan for groups in Mozambique
Our international plans have been designed to offer comprehensive medical cover for expatriates when in Mozambique and abroad.