International Health Insurance for Expats
Cote d’Ivoire, also known as the Ivory Coast, is located on the south coast of West Africa, and covers a land area of almost 325,000 km². Cote d’Ivoire’s population as of 2018 was approximately 24 million people, almost 4.5 million of which reside in Ivory Coast’s largest city and economic capital, Abidjan.
The Ivory Coast’s fast-growing economy is in large part due to their agricultural exports, as they are the world’s largest producers of cocoa beans and one of the leading producers of coffee and palm oil worldwide. Despite their growing economy and relatively high GDP per-capita, the poverty rates in Cote d’Ivoire as of 2015 were roughly 46% (11 million people).
The quality of the health care system in Cote d’Ivoire is considered below average, although it is typically better in the large cities like Abidjan than it is in the rural and remote areas. While larger cities have the medical infrastructure for both private and public facilities, there is a shortage of proper medical facilities in rural areas, and the facilities available are generally understaffed or underfunded. Some private facilities in Abidjan like Hotel Dieu or Polyclinique Internationale Sainte Anne-Marie (PISAM) provide adequate medical services, but usually at a high cost. Although some private facilities in Cote d’Ivoire offer cashless services, patients are sometimes required to pay their medical expenses by cash, which can be problematic given that almost half of the population lives in poverty. Due to the financial and geographical limitations they are faced with, a massive portion of the Ivorian population does not have adequate access to health services. Following their civil war in 2002, Ivory Coast’s government implemented a free healthcare system for all Ivorian citizens. However, due to the high demand for medical services, the government was not able to meet the needs of the majority of the Ivorian population, and eventually had to drop the free healthcare system. Following that decision, only mothers and children up to 6 years of age were made eligible for free medical services.
Living in Cote d’Ivoire can be difficult for expats and visitors, for reasons ranging from social and political disturbances to the prevalence of fatal diseases. There are numerous endemic diseases in Cote d’Ivoire, some of which include malaria, tuberculosis, yellow fever, sleeping sickness, meningitis, leprosy, and trachoma. Ivory Coast also has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in West Africa; as the number of people living with HIV/AIDS is approximately 500,000. Although there have been several efforts to educate the local population of Cote d’Ivoire on the prevention of and fight against AIDS, socio-political instabilities and inadequate funding have made it difficult for these efforts to make a significant impact.
Expats and visitors are not covered by Cote d’Ivoire’s healthcare system, and would have to pay a high price to use the private healthcare facilities in case of a medical emergency. In the event of a serious injury or illness, one would most likely have to evacuate Cote d’Ivoire to seek the necessary medical treatment abroad, which is also typically extremely costly. Emergency medical services in Cote d’Ivoire are also generally poor, as they suffer from a shortage of ambulance vehicles and immediate response teams.
For these reasons, we strongly encourage both expats and visitors in Cote d’Ivoire to purchase a comprehensive international health insurance policy which provides an emergency evacuation and repatriation benefit.
If you are an expat living in Cote d’Ivoire, we at MyBroker Inc. are available to assist you with your comprehensive international health insurance needs, including emergency medical evacuations and repatriation. If you plan on only visiting Cote d’Ivoire, we are available to assist you with your travel health insurance needs, whether you are a solo traveler, travelling with your family, or with tour groups.
For more information about the Cote d’Ivoire health insurance policies we can offer, please feel free to contact us today.