French Guiana healthcare system

Learn about the Healthcare System & Medical Insurance Options for Expats in French Guiana

French Guiana is located on the northeast coast of South America, comprised mainly of lush tropical rainforest. It is part of France’s overseas department. As a result, France manages medical care and is in charge of overall public health in French Guiana. However, both the State and the local administrative departments share the jurisdiction, particularly concerning health. Here’s what you need to know about the French Guiana Healthcare System & Medical Insurance Options for Expats

These departments design and execute local health policies and engage in medical management. These agencies are responsible for framing guidelines for:

  • the development of public and private hospitals
  • workforce resources development
  • structuring and formation of networks of health professionals

Expats must get a medical insurance cover before they step into French Guiana since medical facilities are limited in this overseas department of France. This insurance must also cover medical evacuation and hospital stays.

 Overview of Healthcare in French Guiana

The health system in French Guiana is based on the public and private hospital sectors. It has health centers, disease prevention, and vaccination centers. There are also specialized disease prevention centers in Cayenne and three entities specialized in drug addiction care. Public and private hospital sectors in French Guiana are stakeholders of its health system. Private medical care institutions are the main stakeholders in the health system of French Guiana. Furthermore, they are responsible for giving free entry to various primary and secondary medical facilities.

Cayenne and three entities specialize in drug addiction care and also have specialized disease prevention centers. Continental France imports most of the drugs (via marine route because airfreight costs are expensive). In an emergency, Martinique or Guadeloupe can also supply medicines.

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How the French Guiana Healthcare System Works for Expats

Before entering French Guiana, expats must have all their vaccinations updated. While traveling to rural areas, expats must know that potential diseases could be endemic, even if they are not notified. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is mandatory for all expats aged above one year. The CDC has more information on vaccinations.

Recently, the French public health service launched a telemedicine pilot project between the main hospital in Cayenne and remote health centers in French Guiana. This project manages the discrepancies of healthcare availability. The project reviews and analyzes dermatology cases in the country’s telemedicine network. It has helped validate its utility and suggest ways to make the system better.

Public Healthcare in French Guiana

French Guiana has three public hospitals.

The region’s health officials have executed the following public health measures:

  • Circulating information among medical staff to spread knowledge about yellow fever.
  • They are increasing monitoring in the red zone (accommodation, healthcare facilities, and airport).
  • Steps to prevent yellow fever are being disseminated in French Guiana via mass media campaigns. These campaigns include a press release, radio for local awareness, and the advertising of vaccines.
  • Management immunization of global citizens.

Private Healthcare in French Guiana

French Guiana has three small private clinics. It also has 21 centers and health posts. The private sector is centralized basically within the urban coast. There is a nursing school located in Cayenne that trains and certifies around 20 nursing professionals a year. Financial problems make compliance to provide consistent training for paramedical staff challenging.

Emergency Medical Services in French Guiana

The universal number for any emergency in French Guiana is 112. You can connect with these emergency series in French Guiana by dialling Police – (112) 17, Ambulance – (112) 15, and Fire – (112) 18.

Medicines and Pharmacies

Global citizens should carry their medications when travelling to this country. Additionally, prescription or over-the-counter drugs are not readily available at the local pharmacist or pharmacies in this country.

Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in French Guiana

Expats must acquire an exclusive international health insurance policy that covers various medical expenses during their stay in this country. Policies should also address ground and air ambulance evacuation, including evacuation to the country of origin and remittance of hospital bills. It is because, in most cases, critical medical injuries might require evacuation to Miami for treatments. The bottom line is that you should make sure you get a global medical plan that will cover you both in & outside French Guiana. Some ex-pats may want to include coverage in the USA as well.

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