What Expats Should Know About Healthcare in Madagascar
A favored travel destination amongst digital nomads, Madagascar is the world’s second-largest island country. Around 90% of the plants and animals found in Madagascar can’t be seen elsewhere on the planet. Not only was the country once upon a time home to the now-extinct elephant bird, but it also continues to nestle over a hundred or so lemur species residing here. Its astonishingly dense rainforests, spectacularly marine wildlife with the coral reefs and the ethnic culture are bound to leave you fascinated.
Madagascar boasts of exceptional biodiversity, vibrant wildlife, and numerous national parks. But that is not all there is to this island country. There is a lot that Madagascar has to offer in terms of education, safety, transportation, healthcare, and security. However, it is healthcare that assumes particular significance in Madagascar, given that the state of this sector in the entire African continent is poor.
Let’s find out more about healthcare in Madagascar by delving into the details.
Overview of Healthcare System
Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, is home to public and private hospitals that provide treatments and operations for many, but healthcare facilities in this country are, by and large, limited. Patients needing complex surgeries would have to make their way to hospitals in South Africa. Medical facilities for residents are available free of cost, and we strongly recommend expats living in Madagascar to opt for private international healthcare insurance that provides global coverage.
Malaria, tuberculosis, and leprosy are endemic to Madagascar even though there are healthcare programs to cure them. Likewise, expats living in this island should boil water before drinking. Avoid drinking tap water directly.
How the Healthcare Works for Expats
Madagascar has poor health and medical infrastructure compared to that in Western countries. While urban areas have healthcare facilities, they are often grossly understaffed. In rural areas, the problems are more severe as there’s a lack of transportation to mainland Africa during a medical emergency. Therefore, it is crucial to invest in a suitable international health insurance plan that includes medical evacuation before you travel to Madagascar. It minimizes the potential costs of any evacuation, operation, or other surgical procedures.
Public Healthcare in Madagascar
The quality of healthcare in Madagascar is appalling, even though the count of people falling sick due to common diseases such as TB, malaria, and leprosy has risen by alarming proportions. The government is gradually working towards achieving universal health coverage in the country by making appropriate interventions to provide access to medical infrastructure and treatment to rural households. The combination of population and health system data in the rural areas of Madagascar found that only one-third of the people in need of healthcare accessed treatment when they were charged a fee. However, fee exemptions increased the use of healthcare facilities and treatments by 65% for all patients. It has been a sustained pattern for some time and forms the critical element of universal healthcare in Madagascar with the support of foreign donors.
Private Healthcare in Madagascar
Madagascar’s healthcare system is a combination of traditional medicine practices and western medicines. It is available to the people through public as well as private facilities. The Malagasy Lutheran Church, as well as the international donors, are the primary sources of funding for private healthcare facilities. On the other hand, rural provinces principally practice traditional medicine, and it is available throughout the country.
The private sector provides the best healthcare services in Madagascar. The increased foreign aid has raised the standards of medical infrastructure, equipment, and trained staff in Madagascar and has, significantly, elevated the standards of private healthcare facilities. Private healthcare in Madagascar is relatively expensive. During a severe emergency, the transportation available is through the waterway to South Africa or airlift to other countries for better treatment options.
Emergency Medical Services in Madagascar
Hospital Joseph Ravoahangy
Address: Andrianavalona, Ampefiloha, Antananarivo, 101, Madagascar
Tel: +261 2 279 79
Address: 65 bis Rue Pasteur, Rabary, Antananarivo, Madagascar
Tel: +261 20 23 625 66
Clinic St. Francois d’Assise
Address: Lalana Dokotera Rajaonale, Ankadifotsy, Antananarivo, 101, Madagascar
Tel: +261 32 12 230 95
Clinic Saint Francois d’Assise
Address: Lalana Dokotera Rajaonale, Ankadifotsy, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar
Tel: +261 2 230 95
Fax: +261 2 230 95
Centre de Diagnostic de Tananarive
Address: BP 5120 – 101, Lot IVL – 176 Anosivavaka, Ambohimanarina, Antananarivo, Madagascar
Tel: +261 2 30760
If you require an ambulance service, dial 22-200-40. But, note that heavy traffic delays the service.
Medicines and Pharmacies
Madagascar lacks standard prescription protocol. For example, there’s no apparent supervision on the drug supply chain, and there are no internal procedures for selecting pharmaceutical products. Moreover, the dispensing and administration of medicine is mostly carried out by unqualified staff.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in Madagascar
Expats must buy an international health insurance plan that covers overseas medical evacuation in the event of any severe illness or emergency. Expat Financial offers international health insurance plans. If you decide to move or visit Madagascar, you can seek professional guidance from Expat Financial. You can obtain a variety of excellent and reasonably priced global health plans with excellent deductible and coverage options to meet almost any ex-pat budget.