Learn About the Healthcare System & Medical Insurance Options for Expats in Angola
The Southwest African country of Angola shares its borders with Zambia, Namibia, and Congo. Luanda is the capital city and home to over 12.3 million people. It was also at the heart of a civil war that lasted from 1975 to 2002. The country has a vast reservoir of mineral and oil that accounts for its swift economic growth and development. However, the post-war challenges have been many. It includes neglected healthcare, damaged transportation system, poor education, and a distorted welfare system. These factors are one of the primary causes of the second-highest mortality rate among children in the world. Here’s what you need to know about the Angola healthcare system and medical insurance options for expats.
Due to limitations in healthcare resources, patients are taken to South Africa for treatment. In Angola, private clinics and hospitals offer high standards of care. Patients have access to a range of medical services, along with emergency stabilization care. In rural areas, citizens travel significant distances to receive even primary healthcare. Expats must secure the best healthcare services for themselves with a comprehensive international health insurance policy while staying in the country. More health information about Angola available at CDC.
Overview of Healthcare in Angola
Despite the government funding and initiatives, Angola is far from being at par with the standards of Western healthcare. There is a shortage of medical professionals, poor infrastructure, and a limit in medical services.
The healthcare system of Angola comprises of public and the private sector. While public healthcare is free, not all citizens of Angola have access to it. The best hospitals and clinics are in Luanda, but they are often not up to the standards for most expats.
How the Angolan Healthcare System Works for Expats
For expats in search of a generous pay package as well as adventure, Angola has emerged as a popular destination. However, the country continues to have a reputation that reflects an impoverished public healthcare sector. The government only disburse a small portion of funds on healthcare.
However, we advise expats living in Angola to obtain international healthcare. A global healthcare plan should be enough to cover emergency medical evacuation services, including the return to the home country should the need arise.
Public Healthcare in Angola
While primary healthcare is free to all citizens, the public facilities and infrastructure are inadequate. The poor sanitary conditions during the hot and wet climate lead the population to suffer from diseases like polio, malaria, rabies, dengue, and leishmaniasis.
Expats and travelers usually don’t even consider seeking treatment from the public medical sector. The barely sufficient services, lack of trained staff, insufficient and faulty equipment, infrastructure, and poor sanitation prevent even the rich from seeking premium healthcare.
Private Healthcare in Angola
As compared to public healthcare services, the private sector is more developed with quite a few standard 24-hour hospitals that also help during emergencies. However, for a complicated surgery, the patient has to be evacuated to a South African hospital.
A simple treatment in a private hospital in Angola can prove to be very expensive. Most hospitals need you to pay upfront for every service taken. Unless you hold medical insurance, the healthcare services will cost you exorbitantly. For expats, it is of paramount importance to purchase an international health insurance plan before planning a move to Angola.
Emergency Medical Services in Angola
Knowing a few numbers to contact during emergencies doesn’t hurt. In case of an emergency, dial 112 if you need an ambulance. The turn-around time can be slow due to the limited ambulance services in the capital city. But in case of an emergency in a rural area, air evacuation is the only option. Angola has a team of rescue professionals who are paramedics and help during any kind of medical emergency.
Medicines and Pharmacies in Angola
Private pharmacies usually remain open 24 hours a day, but those belonging to public hospitals have limited opening hours and continue to remain poorly stocked. We advise expats to bring their prescription medicines.
Since brand names tend to vary from country to country, we advise expats to take note of the generic names of their medication. Due to the shortage of medicines in Angola, expats must travel with a supply of any chronic medication that they may need during their stay in the country.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in Angola
Expats, digital nomads, and global citizens planning to travel to Angola should buy an international health insurance plan before heading to the country. Expats seeking employment in the country should protect themselves independently by purchasing medical insurance covers. The international health insurance policy must also cover any incident of emergency medical evacuation. The most widely bought plans in Angola are offered by leading global insurance companies like Cigna Global and Allianz International.