healthcare for expats in Cameroon

Learn About The Cameroon Healthcare System For Expats

Located in Central Africa, Cameroon is blessed with natural terrains and wildlife spreading across the length and breadth of the country. Travelers flock to this country for its picturesque scenery and local’s hospitality.  The country’s temperate climate also plays a significant role in attracting tourists from all around the world. But since it’s a developing country, there’s a limit in healthcare resources. Hence, expats must procure an all-inclusive international health insurance plan that can cover them and their families for various medical needs. You can get more information about Cameroon’s current healthcare situation here.

Residents of several African countries are currently suffering from multiple health-related hazards. Some of the most common diseases that require prior vaccination include hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningitis A, meningitis G, polio, tetanus, and typhoid. Malaria is another dangerous threat that is common throughout the country. As such, the country’s visa conditions are strict. You must get vaccinated for the diseases mentioned before you’re cleared to arrive in Cameroon. Here’s what you need to know about the Cameroon healthcare system.

Overview of Healthcare System

Cameroon’s healthcare system comprises a combination of entities. There are private and public institutions, as well as companies that offer multiple healthcare services.  Under the government-funded schemes, most of the country’s citizens receive free healthcare. These schemes get their funding from the Cameroon government, as well as from public and private enterprises, religious missions, foreign aid donors, and NGOs. The government reserves about 5.5% of its GDP to fund the public healthcare system, and also to obtain the latest medical equipment.

There is a severe shortage of qualified and professional medical staff at public hospitals in Cameroon. Even those with jobs are often complaining about meager salaries, heavy workload, and unsatisfactory working conditions, in addition to the lack of proper equipment and supplies as well as callousness toward adequate sanitization.

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How the Cameroon Healthcare System Works for Expats

Cameroon’s Ministry of Public Health manages the country’s healthcare system. The overall healthcare system of Cameroon is bleak, with an average of two doctors for every 10,000 people. Several people even rely on nurses and other less qualified medical personnel to access health services. Hence, the expat population generally prefer facilities in private hospitals. But to ensure that expats make the most of their stay in Cameroon, we recommend you to get optimum international health insurance that can cover all kinds of medical expenses without these pinching your pocket.

Public Healthcare

Cameroon’s public healthcare system provides inexpensive healthcare services and medicines to residents. This system works on three levels: operational, technical, and strategic. Most of the 154 operational hospitals in the country are located in major cities, such as Douala and Yaounde. A few hospitals have medical professionals who are highly knowledgeable in global healthcare ethics and practices.

However, a significant cause of concern in most public hospitals is sanitation. Moreover, healthcare services and facilities are almost non-existent in rural localities of the country. Despite it being a free system, doctors and medical staff often ask patients and their families to pay in cash and insist that they procure medicines from outside with their own money.

Private Healthcare

It’s been a while since the push began to introduce premium private healthcare services in Cameroon. More than 50 private hospitals are supplying modern equipment and facilities. The staff in these hospitals are highly knowledgeable and can interact with ex-pats professionally. These hospitals accept international health insurance.

In Cameroon, employees, citizens, and expats must register for a private health insurance plan. Employers generally do not provide help or contribute to such policies.

Emergency Services

Emergency services in Cameroon are also as lax as services in public hospitals. The number to call for emergency services in Cameroon is 112. However, expats in case of an emergency, taxi services are the best option.


Many pharmacies located in significant towns of Cameroon are adequately stocked with necessary medical supplies. There are pharmacies based in remote areas too, but those mostly do not have many essential and important medicines. You may often have to go quite far to get the necessary medical aid. Alternatively, traditional and Chinese herbs are also available at many drugstores within Cameroon. It usually makes sense to stick with the tried and true medicines from a well-regarded pharmacy in Cameroon.

Best Private International Medical Insurance for Expats Living in Cameroon

Most Cameroonians are not affluent, making it difficult for them to afford treatments at private hospitals. Instead, they rely on the public healthcare system, which already suffers from staff crunch and insufficient supplies of equipment. It is a lot more difficult during a disease outbreak.

It prompts members of the expat community to seek medication and treatment only from private hospitals and facilities. Since such medical attention doesn’t come cheap, expats are always advised to secure comprehensive international health insurance that can cover them if they fall ill or are injured. You should also ensure your plan includes emergency evacuation.

Some of the leading international insurance companies that offer optimum health cover in Cameroon include Allianz International and GeoBlue Xplorer. You can compare the plans offered by these companies and see for yourself which one is the most feasible before making your decision. Contact us to discuss and learn more.

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