What Should Expats Know About The Healthcare System & Insurance Options in Mali
The French-speaking West African nation called the Republic of Mali is replete with natural resources like uranium, salt, and gold. There are vast stretches of deserts and picturesque sights. Niger surrounds the country to its east, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast to its south. Guinea to its southwest, Senegal, and Mauritania to its west and Algeria to its north. The Senegal and Niger rivers run through the South of Mali, which is where the Malians mostly reside. The country has a unique terrain, and culture and history based on its literary and musical traditions.
Mali’s capital city Bamako is a vibrant city with a vast market, botanical, and zoological gardens. It even boasts an active artisan community. The country offers its own set of wonders to expats living in the country.
Despite these attractions, the country is one of the poorest nations in the world. Moreover, the healthcare system in the country is the worst and survives on foreign aid doled out through social work by the foreign missionary groups and the international development organizations. While there are some essential medical facilities available within Bamako, the facilities outside the capital are sparse or non-existent. And even if there is any medical aid on discount, there’s always a short supply of staff, essential drugs, and medicines.
Want to know more about the healthcare system and insurance options in Mali? Let’s dive in.
Overview of Healthcare in Mali
The healthcare system of Mali faces a host of challenges. Malnutrition, poor level of sanitation is rampant across the country. The shortage of health-related medical facilities is too evident to escape notice, leading to endemic malaria and Hepatitis A, dengue fever, meningitis, typhoid fever, and diarrhea, among others. The shortage of food in the country has caused malnutrition. If you are thinking of relocating to the country or traveling for leisure, ensure that you are vaccinated for Yellow Fever and get appropriate Mali health insurance for global coverage.
How the Mali Healthcare System Works for Expats
Even though the healthcare system in Mali is by and large appalling, travelers can avail of local healthcare facilities. The quality of healthcare is far below Western standards. Both expatriates and tourists should opt for international health insurance before officially entering the borders of the Republic of Mali.
Within the capital city of Bamako, healthcare is available for travelers and expats alike. These facilities require an upfront payment.
In such a scenario, expats should go for a policy that covers evacuation costs. It is especially true in case of any severe injuries and illnesses in rural areas where medical transportation can be costly.
Public Healthcare in Mali
Although the Republic of Mali aims to provide healthcare to all its citizens, several complications derail the efforts of the Malian government. Extreme poverty is one of the biggest impediments in developing and expanding the healthcare system of the country. It is common knowledge that a majority of the funding comes from foreign donors.
It implies that the government is struggling to maintain a sound healthcare system. In early 2001, the total expenditure of the Malian government on healthcare and medical facilities for its citizens was about USD 4 per capita. The ever-unpredictable weather, severe poverty, and rampant diseases inevitably affect people’s ability to feed themselves and recover from illnesses.
Lack of proper food has led Malians to experience another serious health problem – malnutrition. And it is a burden on medical staff responsible for administering medicines. Moreover, the lack of sanitation and clean drinking water and poor hygiene is an existing health issue Malians are facing.
These factors put together have made Mali’s healthcare system the worst in the world. Mali ranks the lowest on health and development parameters that govern the world. Amid all this health gloom, the one upside is that the count of Malians infected with HIV is as low as 1.9%, which is one of the lowest rates of infection in Africa.
Private Healthcare in Mali
Different players make up private healthcare in Mali. The community health centers, rural practitioners, and urban practitioners (private practices and hospitals) fund the healthcare system.
For an expat in urban areas, private practices and hospitals are the leading medical providers.
Moreover, most medical practices offer general health care services, while private hospitals provide specialty services.
Emergency Medical Services in Mali
If you’re traveling to Mali, you have access to its healthcare facilities. However, take caution of the quality healthcare available. Hence, Expat Financial recommends expats and travelers to get covered by international health insurance. It also provides you with global coverage.
It is also imperative to include medical evacuation, especially in rural areas. When there’s a severe injury or illness and need immediate evacuation, medical transportation will be costly.
Medicines and Pharmacies
Pharmacies in the Republic of Mali are easy to identify as they are marked with a green-colored ‘plus’ sign. But not every drug or medicine can be bought over the counter. On the other hand, you can purchase antibiotics in pharmacies without any prescription from physicians. You are quite likely to get what you ask for unless it is a drug that requires administration under medical supervision.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in Mali
Expats traveling to Mali must have a comprehensive international health insurance policy that covers medical evacuation and airlifting in case of severe health issues and emergencies. Out of the major insurance plans offered across the globe, those provided by Cigna Global and Allianz International are usually accepted by public and private healthcare sectors in Mali. Expats can compare the plans these companies offer for Mali, understand their benefits, and then decide the best plan for them.