Zambia Health Insurance
Medical insurance for those living or working in Zambia. Customized Zambia health insurance plans and quotes available.
Zambia Medical Insurance
The Ministry of Health department oversees health planning and funding allocation in Zambia. The organisational structure of the department consists of five sub-departments, namely the departments of Public Health and Research, Human Resources, Policy Planning and M &E, Clinical Care and Diagnostic Services, and Technical Support Services.
The mission of the health care sector is to deliver health care services that prolong the life expectancy of the population and inform the population of the value of a healthy lifestyle. According to Zambia’s health care policy “Every able-bodied Zambian with an income should contribute to the cost of his or her health”, those suffering from diseases such as TB, STI’s etc., children under five and adults over 65 years old are exempt from fees.
Secondary health care in Zambia is administered at three levels; Level one includes district hospitals also known as primary hospitals; Level two contains provincial Hospitals also known as secondary hospitals; Level three consists of Tertiary hospitals. Primary health care is delivered to urban and rural communities by health centres or health posts.
As of 2011 the birth rate was estimated at 44.08 births per 1,000 members of the population, with infant mortality rate of 66.6 deaths per 1,000 live births. The life expectancy of a child born in Zambia in 2011 was 51.13 years old for males and 53.63 years old for females. The adult prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS is 13.5 percent, as of 2009 there was an estimated 980,000 people living with the disease in Zambia. That same year 45,000 deaths were attributed to HIV/AIDS. In the year 2000, Zambian children had a school life expectancy of seven years, meaning they could generally expect to receive 7 years of schooling.
The Zambian health care infrastructure is best described as poor, especially in rural areas and is generally due to lack of funding, poorly maintained facilities and supply shortages of medications and medical equipment. The availability of basic drugs and needles is wholly inadequate; it is recommended that you carry a sterile medical kit that includes needles. You should also bring any medication that you may require with you, although custom officials may ask for prescriptions on arrival into the country. As an expatriate, should you fall severely ill or injured in Zambia, the nearest medical facility capable of providing appropriate levels of treatment may be outside the country. In such cases you may require medical transportation or evacuation from the country which can be very expensive, the best way to offset these expenses is to take out either travel insurance or international health insurance.
Before you travel, ensure all routine vaccinations and booster shots are up-to-date. For comprehensive information relating to current health threats and concerns, you should consult a travel medical care professional at least six weeks before you travel. Some of the diseases that are currently affecting the population of Zambia are water borne diseases (Cholera, Dysentery, Hepatitis A), diseases contracted via the respiratory tract (Tuberculosis, Meningococcal meningitis), disease contracted from infected blood or bodily fluid (Hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS), and diseases contracted from animals (Rabies, Schistosomiasis).
Malaria, an infection of the red blood cells, is present in all areas of Zambia. Malaria is contracted from the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. This type of mosquito feeds predominantly from dusk till dawn. There are various risk factor associated with contracting the disease such as length of stay, season of travel, location and the type of accommodation. Preventative medication is available but is not 100 percent effective.
Dengue fever contracted from the bite of the Aedes mosquito is a non-medication preventable disease. The Aedes mosquito feeds predominantly during daylight hours.
To reduce the risk of contracting either Dengue Fever or Malaria it is recommended that one wear insect repellent, long-sleeves and trousers and sleep in air-conditioned rooms using bed-nets.
Incidents of mugging, bag snatching, theft, car hijacking, and armed robberies are common in Zambia. Bandits target luxury cars and have been known to target stationary vehicles while they wait to enter gated properties. Attacks can occur anywhere in Zambia, especially in Lusaka, the Copperbelt towns and tourist centres. Car-hijackings have been reported on the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo on the road between Mufurlira and Ndola. One is advised not to stop for strangers even if flagged down and to keep doors locked and windows closed.
One is also advised to avoid the Cairo Road area of Lusaka, including Chachacha, Freedom Way and Lumumbe Roads, in the past violent robberies resulting in fatalities have taken place in this area. Remain vigilant in on the road that leads to Songwe Village, in the Northern Province and on the abseiling point on Victoria Bridge. Walking after dark is not advisable in any areas.
Homosexuality, pornography, and drugs are illegal in Zambia with long prison sentences being imposed on those that break the law. The Zambian Government considers some sites to be sensitive, including places like power station and pumping stations, army barracks, and airports etc., so avoid taking photographs of such places as it may lead to issues with the police.
If you are considering spending any time in the Republic of Zambia contact Pacific Prime to discuss, free of charge, you or your group’s health care needs. Pacific Prime can offer a wealth of professional expertise and services. Our policies can be tailor made to suit every budget and health care need from dental, maternity, and medical evacuation. For peace of mind for the duration of your stay contact Pacific Prime to speak to one of our advisors about medical insurance today.
Health care quality in Africa: Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa
Diverse and growing, the African continent is home to a vast range of national identities and regional cultures.
In terms of health care, governments face a number of challenges, including lack of funds and poor infrastructure. This is compounded by epidemics, poverty and the brain drain of homegrown doctors moving abroad, in search of higher wages and a better standard of living. Varying wildly from country to country and region to region, public health care does exist but most expats will want to use the private sector (often based in large cities and major tourist locations) or have the private medical insurance and funds to be evacuated to another country.
While Nigeria has a public health service financed through a national insurance scheme, newcomers to the country might want to consider their own private medical insurance, use private health care facilities, and make sure they are covered for repatriation (in the event of death) or medical evacuation to another better-equipped country, if necessary. Public health care is improving, but it faces a number of difficulties including a low ratio of doctors at only 1 per 2,000 inhabitants (low on a global scale but higher than most of its African neighbours) and an infrastructure struggling to cope.
The country spends 3.7% of its GDP on health care: a figure well below global average but on par with many of the countries around it. Although it has a network of multi-discipline hospitals, mainly in the more urban areas, doctors complain of low pay. Despite only being ranked at 187 on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) league tables (World health report published in 2000) for the overall effectiveness of its health care system, a number of initiatives are improving life for inhabitants including family planning and immunisation programmes, and the country’s prospects continue to change as its economy grows to become one of the largest in Africa.
There is an excellent level of care to be found at the private hospitals in the major cities and around the game parks in South Africa, so much so, that it’s not uncommon for patients to be flown in for treatment from other countries. This is against a backdrop of a poor standard of public health care and one of the shortest average life expectancies on the planet — it’s fair to say that South Africa has more than its fair share of challenges.
As a whole, the country spends nearly 9% of its GDP on health care (on par with countries like Spain and Malta) but the doctor to population ratio is just under 1 to 1000, well below the world average. As public facilities can be poorly equipped, overcrowded, and waiting times long, comprehensive private medical insurance is worth thinking about for anyone looking to relocate to South Africa.
With spending on health care just 5.7% of GDP, low by global standards, it is higher than that of some neighbouring countries like Sudan and Ethiopia. There is one doctor per 5,000 inhabitants and there can be huge variation in standards of care across geographical areas, private and public facilities, and the type of treatment available. The best private hospitals are to be found in the larger cities such as Nairobi and Mombasa, offering the kind of provision akin to that available in developed countries for many conditions.
Foreign nationals are able to join the national health insurance scheme (which is compulsory for civil service staff), but most have their own private insurance, often arranged through an employer. Consider having insurance in place to cover evacuation or repatriation, and set cash aside in case any payments need to be made up front.
Foreign nationals seeking to live and work in Zimbabwe might want to ensure they have adequate private medical insurance to cover private treatment and evacuation to somewhere with additional facilities, if necessary. The availability of staff, beds, technology, and pharmaceuticals is unreliable in hospitals and, although the government has promised to improve the health of the nation as a whole, many foreign nationals will find that provision is underfunded and varies in standard. Have access to enough cash to cover emergency care, as many private clinics will not treat patients until they have paid up front. With just 1 doctor per 10,000 people the country’s health care system is ranked as 155th out of 191 in the world by the World Health Organization.
Although Zambia has a basic public health care system, most newcomers and wealthier Zambians use the private system. With much of the international community and commerce based around Lusaka, this is where the best private hospitals are located. Those relocating to live in mining community compounds may find there are medical facilities on site, provided by their employer. The country as a whole spends 5% of its GDP on health care (less than a third of somewhere like the U.S.) and the health care system sits at position 182 out of 191 countries on WHO’s league table. Public facilities are below the standard found in more developed countries and, with doctors receiving better pay in private hospitals and abroad, the country is struggling to keep its talent – there is roughly 1 doctor per 6,000 inhabitants (compared with nearly 5 for the same amount of people in South Africa).
One of the poorest countries in the world, the standard of health care facilities in Tanzania is low by global standards. There has been much improvement in recent years but challenges such as underfunding (just 5.6% of GDP, which translates as $51 per capita, compared to $4,000 per capita in the UK), chronic staff shortages (just one doctor per 30,000 inhabitants), and a lack of medical technology mean that provision is inadequate for both the population and foreign workers alike. Despite this, the health care system sits at 156th place on the WHO league table, which although poor is still above many neighbouring countries such as Mozambique and Zambia. The government does have a universal health care programme, but the quality and scarcity of facilities (generally only available in urban areas) mean that foreign nationals might want to think about having comprehensive private medical insurance, including cover for medical evacuation to other territories with higher standard facilities, such as Kenya and South Africa, in the event of a medical emergency.
While the standard of medical facilities in Uganda is different to those found in developed countries, there are private clinics in Kampala that offer a good level of provision – some employing British doctors. Publicly run hospitals, and those in rural areas, may be overcrowded and under-stocked, and private clinics very expensive, so expats will want to consider having comprehensive private medical insurance. It’s worth investigating whether the insurance covers treatment and evacuation to countries with better facilities, such as South Africa, as well as repatriation if necessary. English is commonly spoken across the country so a language barrier shouldn’t be a problem. Uganda’s health care system is ranked in 149th place out of 191 countries in the world by WHO. There is roughly one doctor per 1,000 people (not dissimilar to many neighbouring states) and its population spends 7.2% of its GDP on keeping healthy.
Other African nations
With differing economies, governments and approaches to public health care, it’s impossible to summarise the standard of health care across the continent. But there are a number of common-sense guidelines every newcomer would do well to consider:
- Poor infrastructure may mean provision in rural and remote areas is sparse or non-existent. Major cities and tourist areas are more likely to have good medical facilities, university hospitals, and specialist cardiac care centres.
- Where there is a shortage of doctors, you may find they are mainly located in the major hospitals, with satellite clinics being staffed by nurses or medically trained community personnel.
- Private facilities may provide better services and care, but some may require a deposit before treatment starts — even in an emergency. It’s important you have enough funds available and talk to your insurance provider as soon as you can.
- Make sure your medical insurance company has permission to operate in the area. Aetna International’s partnership with a Medical Insurance Provider License holder means they have permission to operate in countries like Kenya and Tanzania.
- Choose a company that already has good links with doctors and care staff at ground level, as well as across the whole medical network. Aetna International’s African partnership and access to a wide network ofmedical experts has seen members go from just four to 15,000 people in under twenty years.
- South Africa alone comprises 13 national languages, and although English is widely spoken in urban centres, for expats who don’t have a strong grasp of English or local languages, it would be worthwhile having a translator with you when seeking medical treatment.
- One of the best places for citizens to get information before they move is their own government’s foreign travel website. The U.S. Passports site is a mine of valuable, up-to-date information, for example, as is the UK’s equivalent. Find details about recent epidemics, what to do in an emergency, and what the general health care provision is like.
If you’re planning to move or travel overseas and need more information on private health care insurance for a specific country, get in touch with one of our expert sales consultants today.
If you’re moving overseas
For anyone considering a move to another country to live and work, it is worth doing some detailed research on the health care system.
You will need to find out:
- Where are the best hospitals?
- What access do foreign nationals have to universal health care?
- What standard of facilities and personnel are available?
And what about insurance? In most cases, this will be compulsory but, in order to ensure your health and safety, what level of cover will you need? Consider whether you might need:
- Access to a General Practitioner
- Inpatient and outpatient care
- Specialist treatment for on-going care and emergency provision
- Evacuation or repatriation if the treatment you need isn’t available locally
Choosing the right health care insurance provider can make all the difference. Established systems, networks and relationships create the operational core of a company like Aetna. For more information, please contact one of our expert sales consultants.
Malawi Health Insurance
Medical insurance for those living or working in Malawi. Customized Malawi health insurance plans and quotes available.
Malawi Medical Insurance
Malawi, the “Warm Heart of Africa”, is a landlocked country located to Zambia’s southeast, Tanzania’s southwest, and Mozambique’s north, northeast, and northwest. With Malawi’s Lake Malawi National Park and Chongoni Rock Art Area both on the UNESCO World Heritage List, Malawi is renowned for its natural beauty. Malawi is hot in the south and temperate in the north all year round. The largest tribes in Malawi include the Tumbuka, Chewa, and Yao. Even with so many different ethnic groups, one underlying similarity amongst all the cultures is the widespread appreciation of dancing and music. Traditional music and dances are an integral part of all forms of rituals and ceremonies, from marriages to celebrations, and initiation rites. In addition, Malawi has a strong tradition in basketry, mask carving, and oil paintings.
Malawi is both one of the world’s most densely populated and least developed countries. Its economy is mostly based on agriculture, which makes up more than a third of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). With agriculture driving the economy of the country, around 85 percent of the population live in rural areas, which has made the government’s attempts to provide health care coverage to its populace even more difficult. In the past, Malawi’s economy has been heavily dependent on aid from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and other nations. However, in recent years, foreign aid has dropped by almost 80 percent because of concerns of corruption. Moreover, in 2009, investments fell by 23 percent, which has made it increasingly more difficult for Malawi to pay for imports and to grow its economy. The Malawian health care system is currently in a crisis. Equipment and infrastructure are usually in much need of an update. There is limited staff and medical supplies. Moreover, because most Malawians do not have simple medical supplies and are not used to administering basic first aid, minor illnesses or injuries such as burns and headaches are treated at the hospital, which greatly increases the patient base. All of these factors contribute to the broken state of the current Malawian health care system.
The Malawian health care system is socialized and organized by the Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP), which develops all policies, regulations, and programs. All the funding comes from the government and international aid. Its health services are organized into a three-tiered system where resources trickle down between tiers, often leaving the second and third tiers with barely any medical supplies. At the bottom are the rural health centers and hospitals, which may have marginally trained clinicians. Even if there are medical supplies and unsanitary, out-of-date operating rooms at these locations, there are no trained doctors to provide the services. Rural health centers try to target pre-natal and post-natal care because Malawi has an alarmingly high rate of death due to birth complications. As of 2000, 1 in 7 women died of birth complications. The rural centers also try to provide education because another major problem is the lack of sanitary hygiene practices. Cultural beliefs and traditional practices have led to poor health conditions. For example, houses are poorly ventilated, and people tend to bathe, put their waste in, and get their drinking water from rivers and local water sources. Increased malarial infections from rises in the mosquito population are a particularly high risk because there is no access to running water and pit latrines are used.
The second tier is made up of district hospitals that are located in the 27 districts of Malawi. The second tier may have more basic health supplies than the third tier, but conditions are generally not much better. Although there may be x-ray machines and diagnostic laboratories, the equipment is usually dilapidated. There may be a few nurses and clinicians, but doctors are rare. Doctors who can perform more complicated medical procedures are virtually nonexistent.
At the first tier, there are facilities with the most advanced equipment, supplies, medicine, and staff in the country. These hospitals are all located in the largest urban areas of the country. Even at the top, there is still a lack of supplies and staff. There are less than 100 registered doctors and 3,000 registered nurses for all of the country’s 12,000,000 Malawians. The doctors and nurses have to work long hours and have little protection from the illnesses that their patients may carry. To worsen the problem, most doctors and nurses who train in the country’s medical schools leave the country.
There are some alternatives to the country’s social health care system. Some private-for-profit clinics can be found in urban areas. However, the prices are well above the price ranges that the large majority of Malawians can afford. In addition, there are some foreign organizations, such as the Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) that charge affordable rates or provide free services. In addition, there are also foreign and domestic NGOs, which have small local health projects that provide services at the community level. Most of these also work closely with the MOHP to ensure that they are following national policies and standards.
Strong cultural practices and religion have made traditional medicine a large part of the Malawian health care system. Most people will choose to use both traditional and allopathic medicine to compliment each other. There are two types of traditional doctors. Traditional healers deal mainly with diseases of the body and spirit, and their practices vary between different sects. Each traditional healer may have his own practices and rituals. Many also include preaching and sermons in their therapies in order to remove demons from a patient. The other type of traditional providers is a traditional birth attendant (TBA). TBAs tend to have more primary health care training and provide allopathic pre-natal and post-natal care services that are integrated with religious and traditional practices. The MOHP works closely with the traditional medical community to ensure safe, sanitary practices and to increase awareness of basic public health education.
One of the most pressing health problems of Malawi is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) epidemic. About 16–18 percent of Malawians are infected. The majority of these are in the most productive age group of the population, ages 18-49. Not only does HIV strongly affect the health sector of Malawi, it also has wide-spreading effects on the social and economic sectors of the country. Approximately, 80,000 people a year die from Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). This leaves about 600,000 orphans, who must live with relatives or on the streets, which puts pressure on Malawian social services. Without a strong, healthy working force, the economy also greatly suffers. AIDS medicine is not accessible to most Malawians because of the expenses of distribution. The MOHP is trying harder to concentrate on education, but the effects are small and slow. HIV is likely to continue to be a major health crisis in Malawi for decades to come. Travelers to Malawi should be careful to not engage in any behavior that may lead to an HIV infection.
Although tourists and expatriates can use the health care facilities free of charge, the standards and range of services and supplies are significantly below Western Europe and North American standards. Malawi is currently undergoing a health crisis. In addition to a lack of equipment, supplies, and personnel, there is also a large patient base, which can cause waiting times to be a day or longer. Signing up for an international health insurance policy beforehand is strongly advised. Be sure to look for a policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. Rural parts of Malawi have basic health facilities that are typically out of supplies and medicine. For serious accidents or illnesses, an emergency evacuation may be needed, which can be extremely expensive without insurance coverage.
Travelers are recommended to get their hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, rabies, and tuberculosis vaccinations before heading to Malawi. Recently, tuberculosis incidence rates have significantly increased. In 2006, 377 per 100,000 people were infected with tuberculosis, a dramatic increase from 258 per 100,000 in 1990. In addition, diarrhea is a common affliction, so be sure to bring diarrhea and rehydration medicine. Always bring adequate supplies of personal prescription medicine and supplies. It may also be difficult to obtain proper nutrition in the food found in some areas, so travelers are also advised to bring vitamin supplements.
Malaria is also endemic in Malawi. It is responsible for 40 percent of hospitalizations and hospital deaths. Be sure to bring malaria medicine, insect repellant, and bed nets to protect from malaria and mosquitos that may carry the disease. Travelers in Malawi, who suspect that they may have malaria and need help with diagnosis, can contact the CDC malaria hotline at 770-488-7788 (M-F, 9am-5pm, Eastern time). If it is an emergency, call 770-488-7100 to speak with a CDC Malaria Branch clinician.
We offer professional advice at no cost to you. No matter what your budget is or what your requirements are, our professional consultants can help find a policy that fits you or your group. Our policies can cover a wide range of services including dental, maternity, specialist consultation, transportation, inpatient services, and many more. Please contact us today for a free consultation.