Healthcare in Cambodia and medical facilities and equipment may not meet the high international standards many expats may be used to. This is particularly true of public healthcare, but even private hospitals offer only limited care. Expats who fall seriously ill or are severely injured should consider medical evacuation to Singapore or Bangkok, where better quality care is available. It's for this reason that a good health insurance plan is essential.
While the public hospitals in Cambodia are generally understaffed and poorly equipped, there are a few good private hospitals in Phnom Penh. However, outside the capital, the options are limited.
Health insurance in Cambodia
Due to the poor healthcare standards in Cambodia, expats should purchase comprehensive medical cover before they move. The insurance plan should cover medical evacuation, which can cost thousands of US dollars if uninsured.
Private healthcare in Cambodia
Expats living in Cambodia favour private hospitals and clinics, but these tend to be expensive. Clinics mainly offer general medical treatment, whereas specialist departments are only available in hospitals. Private international clinics and hospitals in Phnom Penh also provide medical translation services and evacuations, and are mainly staffed by doctors who have trained in Western countries.
Pharmacies in Cambodia
There is a long list of over-the-counter medications available in Cambodia. However, counterfeit drugs are common, so expats are urged to avoid some smaller independent pharmacies, which have been implicated in the fake medicine trade.
Pharmacies are available everywhere in Cambodian cities, but expats should stick to larger pharmacy chains such as UCare and Pharmacie de la Gare in Phnom Penh. Medication in Cambodia often costs considerably less than in Western countries.
Dentists in Cambodia
Contrary to the general healthcare standards in Cambodia, dental services in the country are excellent. Indeed, Cambodia is making a name for itself for dental tourism, and English-speaking dentists who have trained in Europe or the US are relatively easy to come by.
Emergency services in Cambodia
Ambulance services in Cambodia are not always prompt, and the public emergency telephone number (119) sometimes goes unanswered. If possible, expats should make their way to one of the main international hospitals in case of a medical emergency.
►Banking, Money and Taxes in Cambodia is a useful guide for managing money in the country
"Insurance is a must for anyone coming here. Healthcare is renowned for being sub-standard and poorly equipped to handle anything serious. Insurance needs to cover you for medical evacuation to the nearest decent hospital (Bangkok is the best bet) that can handle your emergency."
Read more of British expat Clare's expat interview about living in Cambodia.
Are you an expat living in Cambodia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Cambodia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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