Healthcare in Tanzania 

Tanzania offers breathtaking landscapes, fascinating wildlife and tranquil lakes. Though the local culture can be quite different from Western norms, the adjustment is often significantly eased by the friendly and welcoming attitude of Tanzanians.

The quality of medical care in the country is fairly low, and expats will likely need to make arrangements for a comprehensive private international health insurance plan.

Before venturing to another country, make sure you have a health insurance plan you can rely on. Our international health insurance plans offer comprehensive health cover for when you are in your home country and abroad.

Medical assistance can be hard to find in Tanzania, particularly outside of major cities. Underfunding plagues the country’s public health system with the result that the available facilities, staff and resources aren’t able to accommodate the needs of Tanzania’s growing population.

Expats working in the public sector are automatically signed up for the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), which allows access to public healthcare. Those who work in the private sector can voluntarily sign up for the NHIF if they wish to do so. Because of the low quality of care at government hospitals and clinics, most expats avoid using public healthcare facilities even if they have access via the NHIF.

Most expats purchase private health insurance in order to use private healthcare providers instead.

Most expats in Tanzania opt to use private doctors and hospitals. Options for private healthcare are generally limited to a few facilities in Dar es Salaam, which can make them difficult to access. For emergency or specialised treatment, medical evacuation to Kenya or South Africa is usually preferred.

Medical treatment in Tanzania is usually expensive, particularly in the private sector. It is therefore imperative that expats ensure they have a comprehensive healthcare plan which covers not only day-to-day medical expenses, but transportation and treatment costs in case of medical evacuation as well.

Pharmacies in Tanzania can be found attached to hospitals in large cities but are harder to find in more rural areas. Pharmacies across the country are prone to running out of stock, so expats taking chronic medication must ensure they can access an adequate supply. If bringing prescription and chronic medication with them to Tanzania, expats should ensure it is in its original packaging and accompanied by a doctor’s note.

Mosquito-borne illnesses such as malaria and dengue fever are prevalent in Tanzania, particularly in rural areas. Expats in at-risk regions should take the recommended medication, sleep under a mosquito net, wear long sleeves and make use of insect repellents.

Due to the possibility of contracting water-borne diseases, the tap water in Tanzania is not safe, so it’s best to drink only bottled water.

In the event of a medical emergency in Tanzania, expats can call 112, although local emergency care is not recommended. Expats should be prepared to transport themselves to a nearby hospital or medical facility in case of emergency. It is also advisable to keep the contact details for a nearby hospital on hand.

In an urgent situation, it’s usually best to receive treatment in a nearby country with higher standards of medical care, such as Kenya or South Africa. Transport is usually by air ambulance arranged by one’s insurance provider.