Senegal Medical Insurance
The nation’s health care system operates on three levels; Health Posts, District Health Centres, and Regional Hospitals. In addition to these services the country has two university hospitals and a small number of private health clinics.
Healthcare services in Senegal are of an extremely low quality, primarily due to the substandard infrastructure of health facilities. Medical facilities in the country are unable to cover the entire population, and frequently suffer from severe overcrowding. There is an estimated one hospital per 545,800 inhabitants, one health centre per 175,000 inhabitants, and one health post per 11,500 inhabitants – all pointing to significant gaps in the provision of Senegalese medical services. Furthermore, there are an extremely low number of qualified medical professionals within the country, with only one medical doctor per 17,000 people, and only one birth assistant per 4,600 people. In addition to this, each community care health worker is expected to care for approximately 8,700 Senegalese residents.
While the severe shortage of qualified medical staff in Senegal is concerning for expatriates and travellers planning on visiting the country, it is important to note that even where there is a doctor or nurse, in many cases these individuals will not have received training on par with western standards; many of the medical professionals in the country receive only limited courses on basic health and medical practices. In addition to this, there is a dearth of medical staff in rural areas, which further compounds the issue of supply; many doctors and medical staff in Senegal simply cannot be motivated to work in rural areas of the country.
Services in rural areas are delivered on three levels. The first level is Health centres and health clinics that have some operational facilities, these facilities will typically have approximately one to two qualified doctors and between 15 to 20 health staff. The second level of rural healthcare provision is Health Posts; the number depends on the population of the district, the staff at health posts usually number between four and five people. The third level is Health Points, here are numerous Health Points operating under the directive of health posts, staff are usually health agents or a midwife.
Access to rural health services is hampered by poor road infrastructure, extreme distances and environmental conditions. Many of the country’s roads are sand or mud tracks that are difficult to navigate in normal weather conditions. Poor conditions are exasperated during the rainy season. Only 32 percent of rural Senegalese households have access to rural medical services.
Hospitals and clinics in Dakar are equipped to treat major and minor injuries and illness, however services and doctors may be difficult to obtain. Due to the extremely low quality of the medical situation in Senegal, and the frequent crowding at local hospitals, expatriates and travellers who suffer from a severe illness or accident while in the country may have to be transported overseas to continue treatment. As such, it is highly advised that any foreign national entering Senegal purchase a comprehensive international health insurance policy which provides an emergency evacuation benefit before they arrive in the country.
Before you travel to Senegal you should consult with a travel health care professional to discuss the various health risks and concerns associated with your trip. Routine childhood vaccinations should be up-to-date. Cholera, diphtheria, hepatitis A and B, meningococcal meningitis, polio, rabies, tetanus, tuberculosis, and typhoid are just some of the vaccine preventable diseases that currently pose a risk in Senegal. This is by no means a comprehensive list of the disease affecting the country and should not substitute for a consultation with a trained professional.
Malaria, caused by the infection of red blood cells with a parasite, is a risk in all areas of the country. Malaria is contracted from the bite of the Anopheles mosquito who feed during the hours of dusk till dawn. Malaria prevention tablets are available but do not guarantee 100 percent protection. Dengue fever contracted from the bite of the Aedes mosquito is a non-medication preventable disease. The Aedes mosquito feeds predominantly during daylight hours. Commonsense preventable measures such as wearing insect repellent, wearing long-sleeves and trousers and sleeping in air-conditioned rooms and using bed-nets are recommended.
While travelling in areas around the border of Mauritania and Mali, to the east of the city of Podor until Kidira, travellers are advised to take extreme care. There is a high level of threat from terrorism and kidnap in Mauritania and Mali.
Landmines in Casamance pose serious risk to the population of the area. Since 1990, over 1,000 people have fallen victim to death by landmines. It is recommended that you travel on routes that are used frequently.
If you are considering spending any time in Senegal contact Pacific Prime to discuss, free of charge, a range of Senegal health insurance services available to you or your group. Pacific Prime can offer a wealth of professional expertise and services. Our tailor made policies suit every budget and health care need no matter what state of life you maybe at. For more information about the medical insurance plans we can provide, please contact us today.