Turkmenistan Healthcare System & Insurance Options for Expats
Turkmenistan has many well-trained doctors and nurses. However, the supply of provisions for healthcare is much lower than their demand. They also have a long way to go before they can meet Western standards. It is vital to have a medical evacuation cover if you are thinking of traveling to or residing in this country. Here’s what you need to know about the Turkmenistan healthcare system and insurance options for expats.
Turkmenistan has no shortage of good and skilled medical professionals. Yet, the state of healthcare at all levels is not up to par with the Western standard, causing a majority of the people to travel to other countries such as Russia, Uzbekistan or Turkey for medical care. New and better infrastructure for social welfare should be in place and many humanitarian missions are in the pipeline.
On the other hand, it is always important to visit your doctor before visiting any country. The CDC has information on the vaccinations you should get before traveling to Turkmenistan.
Overview of Healthcare System in Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan has a centralized healthcare system. Government revenues provide the necessary financial aid for this system. Since the earlier regimes have been focusing the funds in other infrastructure projects, the funds for the healthcare sector has been scarce.
Red tape in administration and an autocratic chain of command have slowed down the pace of up-gradation of healthcare services. Predetermined rulings from the Soviet era still influence public health policies.
In the year 2004, about 15,000 healthcare workers were laid off. This added to the insufficiency of staff and caused all of the country’s hospitals to shift to Ashgabat. Fortunately, the subsequent regime took a more constructive stance on healthcare by streamlining funds into the healthcare sector. The funding has been a great help in improving the technology and the infrastructure of the healthcare sector. Furthermore, resumption of a few rural medical facilities took place.
How the Turkmenistan Healthcare System Works for Expats
The state of healthcare in Turkmenistan, generally speaking, is not too good. In fact, it lags behind healthcare services offered in North American and Western European countries. Foreign citizens who visit or plan to shift base to the country must get a health insurance cover. This is because health facilities in Turkmenistan still run on obsolete technology and have a short supply of essential drugs. The situation becomes all the more challenging as you move away from Ashgabat.
As such, we advise expats in Turkmenistan to include medical evacuation in their insurance coverage. This will take care of the expenses of providing them sufficient medical facilities in case of a serious injury or other emergency situations. Evacuation is a costly affair in case of a crisis. If you do not have this type of insurance, the logistics related to ambulance services can become unmanageable.
Visitors must be properly vaccinated before they visit Turkmenistan. Scattered cases of Typhoid and Hepatitis A have been reported, along with instances of Polio outbreaks in the country’s interiors. Visitors must also carry along an emergency medical kit and all the necessary prescriptions to purchase medicines. Abstaining from drinking non-filtered water or unpasteurized milk, or from consuming any raw steak are the other precautions one needs to take.
Pharmacies and Emergency Services in Turkmenistan
Parts of Turkmenistan have private pharmacies. Gedeon Richter, the Hungarian pharmaceutical company, runs the largest chain of pharmacies in Turkmenistan. It also has a small community pharmacy chain in Ashgabat.
Users under regular medication are advised to carry their medicines with them in adequate quantities to last throughout the trip. Prescription medicines or over-the-counter drugs are not easily available at the local stores or pharmacies of Turkmenistan. Likewise, alternative drugs may be difficult to obtain or may not be of dependable quality.
For emergency services, the phone numbers are easy to remember. Call 01 (from landline) or 001 (from a mobile) for fire, 02 (from landline) 002 (from a mobile) for police, and 03 (from landline) and 003 (from a mobile) for an ambulance.
Necessary Insurance Paperwork for Expats
Expats and visitors coming to Turkmenistan need to procure medical evacuation insurance to cover all expenses related to transporting them to areas where the required medical facilities are available. This is critical in cases of serious conditions or grave injuries.
Best Private International Medical Insurance for Expats in Turkmenistan
Expats in Turkmenistan can choose from a range of reliable international health insurance providers. You can avoid the struggle of unplanned expenses by buying a comprehensive international health insurance policy from a reputed insurance company. Top plans include Cigna and Allianz.