Learn about the Healthcare System & Insurance Options for Expats in Uganda
The tropical landscape and natural wildlife habitats of Uganda attracts many expats every year. When it comes to healthcare facilities in Uganda, governments deal with a number of challenges, such as lack of funds, internal corruption, and poor infrastructure. Though the government has been proactive in starting healthcare reforms, they are no match to those found in developed countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there’s one doctor per 1,000 people in Uganda. It is no different in its neighboring countries. Here’s what you need to know about the Uganda healthcare system and insurance options for expats.
As public hospitals in rural areas are understocked and overcrowded, and private clinics are expensive, Ugandan residents, expats, and travelers consider having international health insurance. This international health insurance is more comprehensive and cost-effective than other public healthcare systems.
The CDC has more information on vaccinations and health information on Uganda.
Overview of Healthcare in Uganda
Uganda had one of the poorest healthcare systems in the 1980s and 1990s. Fortunately, Ugandan healthcare facilities are now better than those offered by most other African countries. The consistent progress is an outcome of the strategic setting of ambitious goals and establishing programs in place to achieve them. In 2009, the Ugandan government attempted to reform the country’s healthcare system. At present, Uganda healthcare system has five tiers. The bottom of the list are village health teams and the second level consists of clinics operated by nurses, midwives, and other health workers. The third level has more extensive facilities with laboratories for diagnosis and outpatient clinics and the fourth level comprises small hospitals. Finally, the highest level is hospitals with specialists and larger facilities.
How the Healthcare System Works for Expats
In Uganda, the quality of medical facilities and infrastructure is inferior to the standards of services offered by North America and Western Europe. Most of the Ugandans do not have access to the necessary healthcare facilities. Expats and travelers are eligible to use the facilities available here. However, they need to be aware that beyond basic medical facilities, most hospitals cannot offer anything more. Therefore, it is imperative to purchase a policy that covers transportation costs and medical evacuation.
Public Healthcare in Uganda
Varying extensively from region to region, public healthcare facilities do exist but most travelers, expats, and residents prefer private healthcare facilities to be evacuated to another country. Though public healthcare facilities are improving, they also face a number of challenges, such as the low ratio of doctors to patients and inadequate infrastructure. In rural and remote areas, medical provisions are sparse or non-existent. Only tourist areas and major cities have decent medical services, hospitals, specialists, nurses, and cardiac arrest centers. On the other hand, areas where there is a shortage of doctors, trained nurses and other community personnel are in charge.
Private Healthcare in Uganda
Private healthcare facilities certainly offer better medical services and care as compared to public healthcare, but usually demand a deposit before the treatment begins. Therefore, it is essential to have enough funds or get in touch with your insurance provider as soon as possible. Expats in Uganda need a comprehensive health insurance plan. Medical professionals in private hospitals can communicate in English, so there is no language barrier.
Emergency Medical Services in Uganda
Most injuries and deaths in Uganda are the result of road accidents. Emergency medical services cater to an extensive range of acute conditions such as instances of poisoning and other injuries. However, hospitals lack dedicated emergency units and do not have trained providers. The WHO (World Health Organization) launched the Global Emergency and Trauma Care Initiative in December 2018 to provide quality emergency care in Uganda.
Medicines and Pharmacies
In Uganda, the high price of medicines is one of the major reasons for their inaccessibility. Some drugs are only available in private and public hospitals. The authorities concerned are formulating strategies and policies to improve availability and affordability. Most pharmacists speak English and are knowledgeable.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in Uganda
We advise expats traveling or moving to Uganda to obtain an all-inclusive international health insurance policy that includes overseas medical evacuation and airlifting in case of a health emergency. One of the best international insurance plans offered across the globe are Cigna Global and Allianz. Plans offered by these companies are usually accepted by healthcare institutions and private hospitals in Uganda.