Healthcare in Botswana
The public sector dominates the health system in Botswana, operating up to 98 percent of the health facilities. However, there is a huge gap in quality between public and private medical provisions, and expats are recommended to purchase private health cover for Botswana.
As in much of the rest of Africa, the public healthcare system mainly serves a lower-income bracket, while expats and those who can afford it use the private healthcare system.
Many local people in Botswana rely on faith healing or herbalists, both of which currently operate informally as the country is yet to regulate traditional medical practice.
Although there are adequate provisions in Botswana’s private hospitals, medical evacuation to neighbouring South Africa is common in serious cases.
Public healthcare in Botswana
The country’s public healthcare system focuses on disease prevention, as almost a quarter of adults are infected with HIV/AIDS. There are a number of non-governmental organisations providing mostly HIV/AIDS-related services such as counselling and testing.
A nominal fee of USD 70 is charged for most health services in the public sector, while sexual reproductive health services and antiretroviral therapy services are free.
Public health facilities are mainly in Gabarone. Outside the capital, medical provisions are of a lower standard and resources are limited across the country.
Expats should carry identification and proof of medical insurance to avoid being taken to a public facility in an emergency.
Private healthcare in Botswana
To ensure access to the best quality of care and medical treatment in Botswana, expats should invest in a good health plan.
Doctors in private hospitals in Botswana are generally locals educated elsewhere, returning to their home country to practise medicine. In addition to the network of health facilities in Botswana, there are over 800 mobile services to populations in remote areas or those outside the 8km (4.9 miles) radius of a health facility.
Private healthcare in Botswana is expensive so an adequate health insurance policy is recommended to pay for the cost of treatments.
Health insurance for Botswana
If expats travel outside of Botswana regularly or will be returning home, it’s a good idea to purchase an international health plan, which will cover them wherever they go.
Expats in Botswana should ensure their health plan covers medical evacuation. If their employer provides medical cover, they should also evaluate whether it is comprehensive enough to provide for their specific needs.
Health hazards in Botswana
Expats moving to Botswana should be fully vaccinated for the following diseases before they arrive: hepatitis A, typhoid, hepatitis B, rabies and yellow fever.
Expats will need to take malaria prevention if they will be in the districts of Central, Chobe, Ghanzi, Northeast, and Northwest. There is no risk in the cities of Francistown and Gaborone. Transmission occurs mainly from November to June.
Expats should also avoid drinking tap water.