Healthcare in Democratic Republic of Congo
Although some efforts have been made to improve healthcare in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country’s healthcare system remains in an extremely poor state, and expats needing any serious medical care will likely have to seek help outside the country.
Although basic healthcare is available in the main cities, such as Kinshasa and Lubumbashi, healthcare facilities are virtually non-existent in rural areas.
Healthcare facilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s public healthcare system is in a desperate state of disrepair; both facilities and adequately trained staff are seriously lacking and expats are not likely to seek assistance at public healthcare facilities.
There are a few private hospitals in Kinshasa, which may offer an adequate level of care, but any major medical emergencies will best be catered for overseas.
Some large foreign mining operations will have a doctor and a small clinic on site to cater for the basic medical needs of their staff, but any major medical emergency will require air evacuation to a country with better facilities, such as South Africa or further abroad in Europe.
Pharmacies in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Pharmacies are available in major towns and cities and there are a few well-stocked pharmacies in Kinshasa. However, expats who require regular prescription medication should bring a sufficient supply from home along with them. This should be properly marked and accompanied by a script.
Health insurance in the Democratic Republic of Congo
A comprehensive health insurance policy is essential for expats living in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Those moving to the country as part of a corporate relocation package should ensure that their contract makes provisions for health insurance, including medical repatriation abroad in the event of a medical emergency.
Health concerns in the Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo is prone to numerous tropical diseases and due to the inadequate health infrastructure, viruses can spread quickly. Malaria is widespread and, according to Medicines Sans Frontiers, is the leading cause of death in the country. Expats should take adequate precautions if travelling to a malaria-prone region.
Water-borne diseases, such as cholera and typhoid, are also common and expats should avoid drinking tap water in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Emergency services in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Emergency services are seriously lacking across the country. Air evacuation to another country with better health facilities (such as South Africa) will likely be necessary for any serious medical emergencies and expats should ensure that they have sufficient health insurance to cover this.