Your guide to health insurance in Benin
If you are planning to move or travel to Benin, you may have questions regarding how their healthcare system works, as well as whether private health insurance in Benin is needed. Fortunately, this brief guide offers valuable information about Benin, its healthcare system, and offers useful travel advice for expats and travelers alike. Read on to discover more, or click below to obtain a no-obligation, free quote.
Important note: This page is not fully comprehensive and is subject to change without prior notice. It is advisable to consult with a local Benin representative, the Benin embassy, or consulate should you have any doubts before you depart on your journey.
Benin, or The Republic of Benin, is a West African country bordered by Burkina Faso and Niger to the North, Togo to the West, and Nigeria to the East. The country has a small coastal area to the South, where most of the population resides. The capital city, Porto-Novo is located on a coastal lagoon at the extreme southeastern part of the country. Benin is a sub-Saharan country, possessing a tropical climate, and has an estimated population of approximately 11 million people. French is the official spoken language of Benin with indigenous languages such as Fon and Yoruba spoken in areas throughout the country.
Public and private healthcare in Benin
The healthcare system in Benin has primarily depended on the public sector, which has a history of strict regulatory measures and centralized decision-making.
The country’s 12 departments (states) are divided into 34 health zones. These health zones contain one to four communes and are managed by health zone committees and management teams. Each zone consists of department health centers, commune health centers, and a hospital. A health zone office oversees all public and private health entities within a given zone, including private and public hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies.
As of writing, the private health sector is undergoing an expansion due to accelerated urbanization and poor access or quality of public services. Private healthcare services include individual medical cabinets or clinics, midwife-led maternités, nurse-run cabinets de soins, and other general and specialized medical practices. The private health sector is considered to be a significant source of treatment for illnesses among children under five years of age for health issues, such as diarrhea and fever.
The private sector is an important player in Benin’s health sector. It is expected that the public sector will not be able to respond to the growing demand in the urban and peri-urban areas. This could result in an expansion of private healthcare facilities operated by professional medical providers in the country.
Vaccinations before heading to Benin
It is recommended to be up to date with vaccinations to prevent the following:
- Hepatitis A
We would encourage you to contact your local GP or travel specialist medical practitioner for guidance on the necessary vaccinations to take before traveling to The Republic of Benin.
Travel advice for Benin
Below are some travel advice to be aware of when staying or traveling in Benin.
- Don’t Drink:
- Tap water or water from a well
- Ice made with tap or water from a well
- Drinks made with tap or water from a well (such as reconstituted juice)
- Unpasteurized milk
- If you are outside for many hours, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
- Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
- Do not swim in freshwater in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
- Wash your hands often, especially before eating. If soap and water aren’t available, disinfect hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 70% alcohol).
Is it advisable to get private health insurance for Benin?
Travelers and expatriates visiting Benin are advised to take out a comprehensive international health insurance policy before arriving in the country. As the main language spoken is French, it would be ideal to have a medical facility that can communicate in another language like English. Additionally, securing a health insurance plan will offer peace of mind knowing that any medical cost is covered up to the limits chosen.
Medical evacuation cover for Benin
Medical evacuation is considered useful, especially when expats are far from home and unfamiliar with the healthcare system they have access to. Securing medical evacuation cover will ensure effective management of medical treatment during emergencies.
How to find the best private health insurance in Benin
There are many insurance options available in Benin, which is why it can be a challenging task to find the best private health insurance policy. One of the best decisions travelers and expats can make is to consult an experienced insurance broker like Pacific Prime.
With over two decades of experience matching expats with the most optimal health insurance solutions on the market, we leverage our close partnerships with all major insurers and have an extensive portfolio of all the best plans. In addition to having the best health insurance policies, we also offer unparalleled service and outstanding claims support.
Contact Pacific Prime today to secure the best insurance solution with the help of consultants that can provide impartial advice and support.