healthcare system in congo

Current Healthcare System in the Democratic Republic of Congo for Expats

Here are some cool facts about the Democratic Republic of  Congo (DRC). It was formerly known as Zaire. It is the 11th largest country in the world. After Algeria, DRC is the second-largest country in Africa and the largest in the sub-Saharan African region. While the healthcare system in Congo is not ideal, it has managed to tend to the medical concerns of a country of that size and population.

If you’re thinking about becoming an expat in the most beautiful ecotourism destinations in Africa, here’s what you need to know about the healthcare system in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Currently, the DRC is struggling with Ebola since the outbreak was declared in August 2018. It is the second-largest Ebola epidemic on record. According to the World Health Organization, The Ministry of Health, Democratic Republic of Congo has reported more than 3400 cases as of January 2020. The outbreak is mainly in North Kivu, and Ituri provinces and neighboring countries are taking critical measures to reduce the risk of spread.

As a digital nomad, it is essential to take strict precautions. Avoid contact with body fluids or wild animals/bushmeat throughout your trip. At all costs, avoid blood transfusion. It’s also a good idea to keep all your prescriptions handy with you before arriving here. Importantly, get covered with a comprehensive international health insurance plan beforehand.

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How the Democratic Republic of the Congo Healthcare System Works for Expats?

A lot of expats and travelers come to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to immerse themselves in wildlife adventures. There are three national parks across Congo, in addition to the numerous activities that you should experience.

However, it’s also important to know that people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo suffer from all kinds of tropical diseases. Waterborne diseases are a menace in Congo, so avoid drinking tap water under any circumstances. The country’s public healthcare system is weak and often overburdened. But the private hospitals here have better facilities and staff and so are highly favored by expats living in the country.

Public Healthcare

The public healthcare system in Congo is in terrible shape. Most of the hospitals continue to work with worn-out equipment that is not safe for use. Others in the country do not have several essential types of equipment at all. Public healthcare is not available for free, even though close to 71% of the country’s citizens fall below the global poverty line. The shortage of staff in most of these public hospitals has been another significant problem for a long time.

Private Healthcare

Private hospitals only have essential medical equipment. A few of the hospitals in Kinshasa have much better equipment, facilities, and staff. They’re able to provide primary health treatments and stabilize patients from most of the severe injuries. When considering an international health insurance plan, ensure you include medical evacuation.

Emergency Services in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Emergency services in Congo are also not in great shape right now. There is no direct number to reach an ambulance. In case of a medical emergency, expats should call a taxi as it is the ideal transportation to the nearest hospital. We also advise you to save all contact details for air evacuation. Pharmacies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

There are a lot of pharmacies available across the country. Most of them are based in major cities like Kinshasa. There are other smaller pharmacies too elsewhere, but they may lack well-stocked drugs. It is another reason why we advise expats to bring their stock of medicines. Most medicines in Congo are out of date, is counterfeit or heat-damaged. You may also want to consider getting certain vaccinations beforehand to evade diseases that are plaguing the country.

Best Private International Medical Insurance for Expats Living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is grappling to ensure optimum healthcare services for its citizens. The fact that it is a developing country with poor people partially explains this inability. But since the country is globally well-known for its natural beauty, the current state of healthcare does not deter expats from traveling to Congo year after year.

It is because expats traveling to Congo ensure they are fully covered. Expats who wish to move to Congo, therefore, should obtain a comprehensive international health insurance plan for themselves as well as for anyone traveling with them.

Some of the most popular plans you can consider from global insurers offering healthcare cover in the country include Aetna International and Cigna Global. You can go through the plans offered by them and choose the best option for yourself. If you wish, you can also take suggestions from fellow expats already living in the Democratic Republic of Congo or from online reviews before making your choice.

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