International Health Insurance for Expats
The Republic of Senegal is a West African country bordered by Mali, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Mauritania. Senegal spans an area of almost 197,000 km² and has a population of approximately 15 million people, 42% of whom live in urban areas. The capital of Senegal, Dakar, is its largest and most populous city with over 2.5 million residents. The second most populated city is Touba, a rural community with just over half a million residents.
Like many African countries, healthcare in Senegal is rated poorly due to the mediocre infrastructure of health facilities, as well as the lack of medical facilities, doctors, medicines, and health personnel. As of 2008, there were only 20 well-developed hospitals in Senegal, 7 of which were located in the capital city of Dakar. Furthermore, there are only 6 physicians per 100,000 people in Senegal, which equates to 1 physician per almost 17,000 Senegalese.
This indicates that the need for medical facilities and health care professionals is exceptionally strong in Senegal, and even more so in the rural areas as 70% of doctors are located in Dakar. There are major inequalities in health care access and quality for those living in rural areas versus urban areas. Approximately 68% of rural Senegalese households don’t have regular access to medical facilities or medicines, mainly as a result of challenges in transportation. Extremely long distances, unfavorable weather conditions during certain seasons, and the poor quality of roads are all challenges that rural Senegalese households regularly face when they seek medical help.
If you are considering traveling to Senegal, you should make sure that your routine vaccinations are up-to-date for diseases such as Syphilis, Meningitis, Tuberculosis, and Cholera. Malaria is also prominent in all regions of the country, so anti-malarial medicine, long sleeves and pants, and insect repellents are all recommended precautions for your trip.
Before your visit to Senegal, you should also discuss with a health professional the health risks associated with your travel and any extra precautions you may need to take. On a positive note, Senegal is one of the African countries with the lowest prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS, with under 1% of the population suffering from the disease. The low HIV/AIDS prevalence rate has been successfully sustained through conservative cultural norms that discourage sex outside of marriage, as well as educational public health campaigns that promoted the use of condoms.
The public healthcare system in Senegal does not cover health or unemployment. Workers are usually covered by the IPM (Institut de Prévoyance Maladie), a health fund operated by several companies that covers 40% to 80% of medical, hospital, and pharmaceutical costs. Unemployed people can still have access to health care, as there is a welfare assistance system that provides the entire population with primary health care.
Expats and travelers may find it difficult to obtain adequate medical services in the event of injury or illness, as hospitals lack quality and are typically overcrowded due to the shortage of doctors and facilities. In the event of a serious injury or illness, one might have to evacuate Senegal to seek necessary medical help.
For these reasons, we strongly encourage both expats and visitors in Senegal to purchase a comprehensive international health insurance policy which provides an emergency evacuation and repatriation benefit.
If you are an expat living in Senegal, 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 Senegal, 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 Senegal health insurance policies we can offer, please feel free to contact us today.