Healthcare in Angola is generally below Western standards, and expats should ensure that they have comprehensive medical insurance that covers the cost of an emergency evacuation. Although millions are being invested in improving healthcare, the country still suffers from staff shortages and a lack of facilities and equipment.
Most medical care is found in Luanda, and even here, doctors, nurses and other specialists are relatively scarce. Although conditions at facilities in Luanda have improved, treatment is limited and expats needing complicated procedures will need to seek care in a nearby country, such as South Africa, or elsewhere.
Medical facilities in Angola
A few good 24-hour private clinics operated by general practitioners and on-call specialists have adequate facilities for emergencies. Routine operations are also usually performed in these facilities, and most doctors have a basic understanding of English.
Private medical care in Angola is expensive and payment may be expected upfront and in cash, after which expats would need to seek reimbursement from their insurance company.
Health insurance in Angola
Angola doesn't have a government-sponsored health scheme and expats should ensure that they're adequately covered by medical insurance before they arrive. Most companies provide some form of medical insurance plan for their expat staff.
As most complicated medical procedures require travel to South Africa or further abroad, expats should ensure that their medical insurance coverage includes medical evacuation and overseas treatment.
Medicines and pharmacies in Angola
Most pharmacies (farmácias) in Angola are located in Luanda. Hospitals and clinics usually have their own pharmacies, many of which are open 24/7, but basic over-the-counter medicines may be expensive and in limited supply. Expats moving to Angola who are reliant on chronic medication are advised to bring their own supply of properly labelled medication.
Health hazards in Angola
Malaria is endemic in most parts of Angola, so expats should consider malarial prophylaxis and take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes.
The quality of tap water in Angola varies and outbreaks of water-borne diseases are common, particularly in the poorer areas. It’s best to avoid drinking tap water and buy bottled water instead.
Emergency services in Angola
Emergency services in Angola can be unreliable. For general ambulance service, expats can call 112, but response times may be extremely slow and most medical emergency services are limited to Luanda. Emergencies in more remote and rural areas will likely require air evacuation.