Best to drink only bottled or purified water.
There are a few private doctors in Nouakchott, however for any serious medical issues you’ll likely want to travel elsewhere.
Malaria is considered a risk in the south of Mauritania, especially along the border with Senegal and in the northern Adrar in the rainy season (Jul-Oct). Atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline or mefloquine is advised. Otherwise, there is no risk throughout remainder of the country.
The World Health Organization (www.who.int) recommends that all travellers be covered for diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and polio, as well as for hepatitis B. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (www.cdc.gov) also recommends the following: hepatitis A, meningococcal meningitis, rabies and typhoid, and boosters for tetanus, diphtheria and measles.
Yellow fever vaccination is recommended, but not required.
Find out in advance whether your insurance plan will make payments to providers or will reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures (most doctors in Mauritania will expect payment in cash). It's vital to ensure that your travel insurance will cover the emergency transport required to get you to a hospital in a major city, to better facilities elsewhere in Africa, or all the way home by air, with a medical attendant if necessary. Not all insurance covers this, so check the contract carefully.