Health & insurance
Before You Go
The World Health Organization (www.who.int/en/) recommends that all travellers be covered for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and polio, as well as for hepatitis B, regardless of their destination.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (www.cdc.gov), the following additional vaccinations are recommended for Mozambique: hepatitis A, rabies and typhoid, and boosters for tetanus, diphtheria and measles. While a yellow-fever-vaccination certificate is not officially required to enter Mozambique unless you're entering from a yellow-fever-infected area (including Tanzania), carrying one is advised: it's often requested.
Find out in advance whether your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or will reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures. Most doctors and clinics in Mozambique expect up-front payment in cash.
It’s vital to ensure that your travel insurance will cover any emergency transport required to get you at least to Johannesburg (South Africa), or all the way home, by air and with a medical attendant if necessary.
If your policy requires you to pay first and claim later for medical treatment, be sure to keep all documentation. Some policies ask you to call back (reverse charges) to a centre in your home country where an immediate assessment of your problem will be made. Since reverse-charges calls aren’t possible in Mozambique, contact the insurance company before setting off to confirm how best to contact it in an emergency.
Availability & Cost of Healthcare
If you become seriously ill, seek treatment in Maputo or in South Africa, or return home. If you fall ill in an unfamiliar area, ask staff at a top-end hotel or resident expatriates where the best nearby medical facilities are. In an emergency, contact your embassy.
Well-stocked pharmacies are found in the capital and some other major towns. These will invariably carry malaria medications and other basics, although it’s best to bring whatever you think you may need from home.
Always check the expiry date before buying medications, especially in smaller towns.
There is a high risk of contracting HIV from infected blood transfusions. The BloodCare Foundation (www.bloodcare.org.uk) is a useful source of safe, screened blood, which can be transported to any part of the world within 24 hours.
For Western standards, expect to pay Western prices.
Don’t drink tap water unless it has been boiled, filtered or chemically disinfected (such as with iodine tablets). Don’t drink from streams, rivers and lakes. It’s also best to avoid drinking from pumps and wells; some bring pure water to the surface, but the presence of animals can contaminate supplies. Bottled water is widely available, except in very remote areas, where you should carry a filter or purification tablets.