Healthcare in Bahrain
Expats living in Bahrain now find a solid healthcare infrastructure with options for treatment in the public, quasi-public, philanthropic and private sectors. The island supports four state-sponsored hospitals, three private institutions and an assortment of clinics and maternity hospitals.
When compared to other destinations in the region, Bahrain has one of the largest health expenditures and is among the healthiest countries in the Gulf.
That being said, the healthcare system in Bahrain still faces challenges. The economic boom has inspired a large population influx and the state must now take steps to address the high numbers of expats and migrant workers that have come to set up home in the archipelago.
Furthermore, though many health workers are in fact foreigners or have been trained overseas, and do speak English, there still may be a language barrier to overcome if expats find themselves in an emergency.
Public healthcare in Bahrain
Bahrain has taken steps to provide nationals with free and heavily subsided healthcare. Expats can also access this service, and merely need to obtain a Population Registration Card (CPR). That said, services – including emergency services – are not free for expats.
Though growing rapidly, the country's relatively small population means that long queues or delayed appointment times are a rarity in Bahrain.
There are many good small public facilities, but Salmaniya Hospital in Manama is the best equipped and has all the services expected of a top world hospital. In the case of an emergency, this is often the best choice for treatment, even for those with private health insurance.
Private healthcare in Bahrain
Though expats have access to the public system in Bahrain, most opt to take out private medical insurance and to use private facilities. Private hospitals used most often by expatriates are Awali Hospital, International Hospital of Bahrain, American Mission Hospital (AMH), the Bahrain Defence Force Hospital (BDF) or Bahrain Specialist Hospital. Each provides GP services to expats
Though the standard of care can be excellent in Bahrain, specialist treatment centres may be limited and it may be necessary to seek this outside of the country.
Health insurance in Bahrain
Expats should ensure they obtain comprehensive health insurance, including medical evacuation insurance. Expat should try their best to negotiate health insurance as part of their package. Though this is not commonplace, it is worth the extra effort.
Legally, both international players and small-scale service providers need a local partner in order to sell health insurance in Bahrain. That said, expats are still able to purchase packages from international providers as long as they do so outside of the country prior to departure or via online agents.
Aviva International Solutions and IMG Global offer comprehensive packages at reasonable prices.
Pharmacies and medicines in Bahrain
Pharmacies are easily found in Bahrain, and most are open 24 hours a day. Medicines are generally quite expensive and it is best to keep the receipt if planning to claim from medical insurance.
Most medications are readily available at pharmacies. If a medicine is not available, the pharmacist will be able to order it in.
Health hazards in Bahrain
Due to the extreme temperatures, heat stroke and exhaustion, sunburn and dehydration are the most common medical ailments affecting expats in Bahrain.
Continuous construction, accompanied by sand and dust from the island, also aggravates respiratory problems for expats.
Pre-travel restrictions and vaccinations for Bahrain
Any prescription medicines being brought into Bahrain needs to be accompanied by a letter signed and stamped by a registered medical practicioner, stating that the medicine is for the personal use of the traveller or expat. It is also advisable to bring a copy of the original prescription.
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
Emergency services in Bahrain
Ambulance services are readily available in Bahrain. Emergency medical services tend to be very well equipped, but are not always quick to respond. For this reason, wherever possible, expats are advised to get themselves to the hospital when possible.
The number to call in the event of a medical emergency is 998.
Ambulance services are not centralised in Bahrain.
Health tourism in Bahrain
Bahrain is home to Dilmunia Health Island. The construction of this large-scale development on reclaimed land began in 2007 and continues to expand. So far it has cost the country USD 1.6 billon.
The island was designed to to turn Bahrain into a regional hub for health tourism. It includes a diagnostic centre, diabetes centre, alternative therapy and nutrition facility, a facility for aesthetic surgery and a sports medicine institute. In addition to a health facility that focuses specifically on the health of women and children, the island is home to a large number of health spas, boutique hotels and luxury accommodation complexes.