The Kenyan healthcare system has been plagued by issues of low-quality and counterfeit medication. In large cities expats will find an abundance of small road-side pharmacies. While these may be cheaper than large chain pharmacies attached to reputable hospitals, they are also more likely to have issues with fake medication, and their staff are unlikely to be trained or qualified to give sound medical advice.
Most prescription medication should be available in Kenya. However, brand names can differ from country to country so expats should note the generic name of any medication before travelling. It is also unlikely that any significant issues will be encountered when bringing prescription medication into Kenya. Expats are advised to bring the original packaging and to have a copy of the prescription on hand when travelling.
Living in Kenya will expose expats to a number of health hazards. There is a prevalence of diseases which are carried by mosquitos, such as yellow fever, zika and malaria. The risk of contracting malaria is higher in rural parts of Kenya, so expats planning to spending time in these areas are advised to consider precautionary methods such as anti-malarial prophylaxis and using repellent.
In certain regions altitude sickness or heat related ailments may also be a risk. Expats should be sure to drink enough water and avoid overexposure to the sun. If food safety is a concern it is best to avoid drinking tap water and eating any food containing unpasteurized dairy products.
Routine vaccinations are recommended, as well as additional vaccinations for polio, rabies and hepatitis, particularly if expats plan on spending time in rural areas. It is also essential that expats moving to Kenya have a yellow fever vaccination and carry the certificate when travelling in and out of the country.
Emergency services in Kenya are limited and largely unreliable. Ambulance response times tend to be slow as there are not many rapid response vehicles available. Even when available, Kenyan ambulances may not always be equipped to expat standards.
Some serious health issues will require medical evacuation. This can also be extremely costly and expats should ensure that their health insurance will provide appropriate cover.
The medical emergency number in Kenya is 999 and is run by English speaking operators. Expats should be sure to carry the contact details of their nearest embassy for cases of emergency.