Learn about Namibia’s Healthcare System & Insurance Options for Expats
One of Africa’s more appealing and travel-friendly destinations, Namibia gained independence only in the year 1990. After independence, Namibia healthcare system reflected a flawed traditional model of medicine. The income inequality in the population was severe. Furthermore, poor people could not easily access Namibia healthcare services. Even when they do get access, they only get lousy quality medicines. It is one of the reasons why expats are advised to procure a comprehensive insurance plan before visiting the country.
With a population of 2.3 million people, Namibia is the 34th largest country in the world. The capital of Windhoek houses the majority of its people. Expats can experience Namibia’s rich and diverse culture and explore some of the world’s most breathtaking topographical locations.
But Namibia has come a long way since then. Although the public health sector still suffers from general absenteeism among medical personnel and long waiting queues, basic healthcare facilities are widely available to all its citizens. Click here to know more about vaccine facilities in Namibia.
Overview of Healthcare System
In comparison to the other countries of Africa, Namibia has a better healthcare infrastructure with significant facilities and services available in Windhoek. Even though there is a limit in services in the private medical sector, the level of care is superior to what is available in public hospitals. Recent years have seen the private sector gradually expanding. But irrespective of the medical infrastructure and facilities, diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and the deadly HIV/AIDS are rampant.
Since the healthcare sector of the country is working hard to foster a successful public-private partnership, the government is taking initiatives that aim at reaching out to the citizens — general workforce, travelers, and expats alike. The idea is to make private healthcare accessible to as many citizens and visitors along with a secure medical insurance protection cover.
How the Namibian Healthcare Works for Expats?
Before traveling to Namibia, we advise expats to research about their stay thoroughly. Get vaccinations for typhoid, polio, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and rabies. Due to Namibia being a cholera-endemic nation, visitors should stick to only consuming bottled or boiled water.
The population of the country is sparse and widely distributed throughout the country. It has resulted in a higher number of air evacuations in Namibia than in other African countries. The medical emergency evacuation services are available in all corners. Besides, air and road networks go through constant maintenance. In case Windhoek is unable to treat patients, they will be taken to South Africa through air evacuation.
Public Healthcare in Namibia
Officially, public healthcare remains widely available to all Namibians. But in practice, the public healthcare system suffers from an inadequately trained staff, long waiting in queues, and absenteeism of medical personnel. Besides, there is a stark dichotomy between how urban and rural dwellers can access healthcare. The Department of Health and Social Services reported that only 84% of Namibians rely upon the public healthcare system. However, the government is taking new initiatives to increase the awareness of public healthcare in Namibia.
Private Healthcare in Namibia
Rural settlements, small towns and villages, and far-flung areas to have mobile public healthcare centers and clinics. Unfortunately, the quality of the facilities is unsatisfactory. But the recent public-private partnership has led to the expansion of healthcare services to the rural areas too through outreach activities. It has led to the rise of the private healthcare sector also.
Around 80% of Namibia’s medical staff are based in Windhoek, with the city having three private hospitals. Most doctors, hospitals, and private clinics expect you to pay up-front in cash irrespective of whether you possess a health insurance plan or not. That is why it makes sense for all those having health insurance covers to retain their medical bills and prescriptions even after treatment is over. With the help of these documents claiming the expense of treatment becomes easy. Good-quality private hospitals are available in all the major cities of Namibia and, generally, are at par with the international standards.
Emergency Medical Services in Namibia
The International SOS (ISOS) has been a part of the global network operating in over 41 countries. They cover all the remote corners of the country and are supported by a well-developed air and roadways network. Namibia’s ISOS service is fully equipped and includes an ambulance aircraft that makes it possible to reach anywhere in the country within a short time.
ISOS can be reached at:
Tel: (++264 61) 23 0505/24977
Cell: (++264 61) 81 128 4888
Emergency number: (++ 264 61) 112
Medicines and Pharmacies
A vast range of drugs and medicines are available in Windhoek. Pharmacists observe strictness and subscribe to the American Food and Drug organization standards. The local Drug Control Board controls all distribution relating to import drugs.
We advise expats and travelers to carry their prescription medicines with them. Expats may not be able to find the same drugs in Namibia.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in Namibia
Travelers and expats contemplating a move to Namibia must have an international health insurance plan to support them in case of health and sickness emergencies. They must ensure that the policy covers overseas airlifting/medical evacuation in case of a severe medical emergency.
Currently, Allianz International and Cigna Global are regarded among the top international insurance companies that provide cover for Namibia. You can compare their plans with your expectations before choosing the best insurance plan and provider.