Lesotho Health Insurance
Those moving or traveling to Lesotho will undoubtedly have many questions regarding how the Lesotho healthcare system works, as well as whether private health insurance in Lesotho is necessary. This guide provides information about Lesotho, it’s healthcare system, and further outlines the key health insurance options available in the country. Read on to learn more, or click below to obtain a no-obligation, free quote.
The Kingdom of Lesotho is an inland country that is entirely surrounded by South Africa, and Maseru as a capital city. Lesotho is the only nation that entirely lies above 1,400 meters in elevation. Lesotho has an economy based on water sold to South Africa, farming, and exported diamonds. About half of Lesotho's population earns a living through livestock or crop cultivation. Lesotho’s mainly known for the breathtaking vistas of the highlands and mountain peaks.
The administration of the country’s healthcare services is performed by the Health Service Areas (HSA). The country is broken into a number of Health Service Areas; each with a centralized referral hospital, responsible for the maintenance and operation of village health centers and clinics that are manned by nurses and nurse practitioners. There are over 5,000 volunteer community healthcare workers located in villages across Lesotho. Healthcare centers and clinics offer immunization services, family planning consultation, and pre and postnatal care, along with primary medical services. There are three district hospitals situated in Mokhotlong, Berea, and Qacha’s Nek.
In 1996, Maseru Private Hospital was opened in Thetsane where local and South African medical professionals consult and operate. The facilities at the hospital consist of a 24-hour casualty and emergency department and maternity department.
A Flying Doctor Service and Partners In Health, are the sole providers of healthcare to nearly 200,000 people living in rural mountainous areas. Single-engine Cessna planes are specially fitted with stretchers and first aid kits in order to transport patients comfortably. A team of up to six passengers flies to outlining clinics every three weeks. The team consists of a doctor, a public health nurse, a pharmacy technician, and a dentist. The Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) supplies the pilots and helps to cover some of the costs.
Lesotho maintains an emergency ambulance service that can be contacted by dialing 121; however, this ambulance service is not always reliable. Before traveling to Lesotho’s remote areas, it is advisable to obtain international health insurance with one of the world’s leading insurance companies that operate in Lesotho to ensure timely and smooth evacuation in case you’ll need it.
Lesotho travel advice
Lesotho’s crime rate is alarmingly high. There have been numerous incidents of car-jacking, robberies, sexual assaults, burglaries, and even murders against foreigners and native citizens. These incidents have taken place at all times of the day. Unauthorized police checkpoints manned by armed gangs are in operation on Lesotho’s highways.
When driving, you are advised to keep all doors locked and windows closed, avoid driving after dark and during early daylight hours in rural areas; if confronted by armed gangs, offer no resistance. One should also avoid walking in Maseru after dark and in some areas during daylight hours. The Lesotho Mounted Police Service patrols the streets, but due to lack of resources, they are few in numbers and immediate response time is unlikely.
If traveling through Johannesburg International Airport, also known as Tambo International Airport, in South Africa, you should be aware that baggage pilferage is a serious issue. Most reported incidents have been by passengers changing airlines or from those traveling on smaller airlines. Preventative steps such as availing of airport plastic wrap services and carrying electronic and other valuables in your carry on luggage are encouraged. Comprehensive travel insurance can help to offset such costs, should something happen to your luggage.
As with most African countries, Lesotho requires certification of yellow fever vaccination for entry even though there is no reported risk of contracting yellow fever while in the country. If you are considering spending anytime in Lesotho, it is imperative that you consult with a medical healthcare professional before you travel. Possible vaccination against cholera, diphtheria, hepatitis A and B, rabies, tetanus, tuberculosis, and typhoid should be discussed during your consultation.
Due to Lesotho’s elevation in certain areas, which can be over 2,500 meters above sea level, there is a risk of suffering from altitude sickness. To avoid illness, acclimatize yourself as you ascend. If you ascent above 3,000 meters then do so at a rate of 300 – 500 meters in sleeping altitude per day and have a rest day every three days.
Lesotho health insurance
While Lesotho’s healthcare infrastructure and healthcare system are extensive, medical facilities are considered basic in comparison to western standards. In the event of a serious illness or accident, visitors and resident expatriates in the country are advised to seek medical assistance in Bloemfontein, South Africa, which is 140 kilometers from the capital Maseru. Most doctors and clinics in Lesotho will expect immediate cash payment in exchange for medical services rendered. Due to the low quality of medical services throughout Lesotho, it is highly recommended that all foreign nationals in the country obtain a comprehensive international health insurance policy which contains an emergency evacuation benefit.
Those who wish to stay in Lesotho should either obtain a travel insurance plan or private international health insurance in Lesotho to make sure their medical costs will be covered, also in the case of medical evacuation.
If you would like more information about traveling, or moving to Lesotho and obtaining the best medical insurance policy for the occasion, feel free to contact one of our dedicated advisors today.