Health & insurance
It's worth noting that Guinea-Bissau was not affected by the 2014 Ebola virus epidemic that ravaged neighbouring Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Before You Go
For travellers arriving from countries where yellow fever is endemic, proof of vaccination is required; however, odds are you won't be asked to produce the document.
Hepatitis A, B, C, tetanus and typhoid vaccinations are recommended. Also consider vaccinations for rabies, meningitis and tuberculosis.
Anti-malarial medication is also prescribed.
HIV and most major sexually transmitted diseases are present in Guinea-Bissau.
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 Guinea-Bissau 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. International SOS (www.internationalsos.com) is recommended.
Availability & Cost of Healthcare
Health services in Guinea-Bissau are poor. If you need urgent medical attention, get flown out – if not to Europe or the US, then at least to Dakar. Outside Bissau, medical facilities are practically non-existent. Cash payment is expected upon treatment.
You should drink only bottled or purified water. Avoid 'disinfected' bags of water sold in the street.