Learn about Zimbabwe Healthcare & Coverage Options for Expatriates
Becoming an expat in Zimbabwe has its perks; it is also a cross-cultural adventure. There are numerous places to wander from Bantu ruins to Great Zimbabwe Monuments to the cascading Victoria Falls. You can even live your African safari dream at Mana Pools National Park. Besides this, tantalize your palette by savoring popular their delicious sadza and stew. This landlocked country is a stunning destination to explore. Here’s what to know about Zimbabwe’s healthcare system and insurance options for expats and digital nomads.
With an impressive list to explore, Zimbabwe has one common concern. Poor healthcare and quality of life have many of us second-guessing. Many expats and travelers favor moving to Zimbabwe because of the financial rewards and work-life balance. But staying healthy through it all is a significant concern. Africa, as a continent, struggles with the quality of healthcare. Such a situation pushes expats and travelers traveling to Zimbabwe to take ownership of their health themselves.
Overview of the Healthcare System in Zimbabwe
The country’s once-efficient medical system has been deteriorating over the years. The country is facing a shortage of medical facilities, supplies, and staff. The country is abundant with natural resources. But despite all that, the country faces challenges related to healthcare and its economy.
Nonetheless, you can seek medical treatments in private facilities. The problem arises when there is a severe ailment that requires emergency treatment. In such situations, the patients would need to be moved out of the country immediately.
Several diseases pose a threat, which includes HIV/AIDS, influenza and pneumonia, tuberculosis, and malaria. Employers in Zimbabwe, both public and private, provide medical insurance to their employees. They collect premiums from businesses as well as government organizations. This money is then paid to healthcare providers for their services. The medical insurance amount is deducted monthly from the workers’ salary. Some famous medical practitioners in Zimbabwe are traditional healers. These practitioners offer an alternative to many of the citizens seeking medical treatment.
Private and Public Healthcare in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s healthcare system is divided into public and private sectors. The government owns around 70% of the country’s healthcare facilities, while the private sector owns the remaining 30%.
The private healthcare sector in Zimbabwe, which initially caters to the upmarket clients, is now open to low-income urban populace. With the number of trained medical personnel on the rise, even ‘high-density’ suburbs can seek treatment privately. The Medical Aid Societies are responsible for the growing number of private healthcare centers in Zimbabwe.
Both the urban as well as semi-urban populations depend on polyclinics managed by local government authorities or city councils. They can access private medical facilities in their localities through medical insurance coverage.
Sometimes due to disagreements between clinics and insurance companies, medical insurance holders still end up paying out of their pockets. A majority of the working population in the country cannot afford private medical centers and clinics. They depend on the more affordable state and mission hospitals and clinics. Zimbabwe has more than 30 medical aid societies, out of which ten are restricted to respective industries or employees.
How the Zimbabwe Healthcare System Works for Expats
All expats and travelers can obtain medical facilities at both public and private healthcare centers and clinics. But having an international insurance cover helps. The insurance policy covers their treatment expenses, and they do not have to pay out of their pocket. Most insurance policies cover medical evacuation. For a hassle-free experience, expats must ensure their policies cover the bulk of their medical expenses and treatments.
Independent travelers planning on visiting remote areas are should carry a well-stocked First Aid Kit. Availability of medicines and even over-the-counter drugs can be a bit of a problem in most areas of the country, so it is prudent that visitors carry their own supply of medicines from their home country. Numbers that expats can dial in case of an emergency are 112 and 114.
Visitors to Zimbabwe need to make sure that their international insurance policy covers emergency evacuation in case a patient is suffering from some severe illness or ailment and needs to be taken out of the country for further attention.
Most cities have a fair number of ground ambulances equipped with up-to-date facilities. Some aircraft are capable of providing medical evacuations from most airstrips as well as from remote areas.
Best Private International Medical Insurance for Expats in Zimbabwe
Travelers and expats moving to Zimbabwe are advised to purchase international health insurance before planning their move to the African nation. There is a great deal of unreliability in the healthcare system of Zimbabwe. So before moving there, ensure you’re fully covered. International health insurance would be a prudent choice. It allows you to claim any money spent on treatments.
Medical coverage also comes in handy during a medical emergency. That is why expats and travelers need to buy emergency medical evacuation coverage while purchasing medical insurance for themselves as well as their families. Most aircraft used for evacuation are well equipped.
Most medical insurance policies have different ‘levels’ of coverage. For the insurer, it is essential to ascertain if remote evacuations are covered under the policy. If you’re an independent traveler in remote locations, carry a well-stocked First Aid Kit. Cigna Global Insurance is a popular international health insurance plan that offers a comprehensive cover to expats. They can also opt for the Allianz International Health Insurance Plan.
As expats, check with both hospitals and insurance companies about your insurance coverage before purchasing. At times, the insurer may already have a cover available, but the expat might still need to pay the hospital bill following the treatment. That is why expats need to retain all medical bills and reports. It will give you a smooth claiming experience.
In conclusion, Zimbabwe is a destination to add to your bucket list. By learning about the healthcare system and insurance options, it only makes it easier to live the adventurous expat lifestyle.