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Staying healthy requires proper preparation before departure and self-discipline in-country.

  • Get proper vaccinations.
  • Don't forget to take daily antimalaria pills.
  • Use hand sanitizer after physical contact (eg shaking hands) and before meals.
  • Apply bug spray to legs and arms.
  • Sleep under a mosquito net.
  • Drink only bottled water and avoid ice.
  • Do not eat anything that has not been cooked or peeled (no salads or raw vegetables).
  • Promptly treat any cuts with antibacterial ointment.
  • Don't open your eyes underwater in pools.
  • Don't swim in fresh water, particularly if stagnant. While not well-known locally, STP is a bilharzia country.

You should also bring a small medical kit suitable for West Africa. Be sure to include an antidiarrheal, like loperamide, as traveller's diarrhea is by far the most common complaint.

Before You Go

Recommended Vaccinations

In addition to routine childhood and adult vaccines (see wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/routine) these vaccines are specifically recommended for travel to STP:

  • tetanus (10-year booster)
  • typhoid
  • hepatitis A
  • rabies (for anyone spending time in villages, where dogs are common)

After years of eradication efforts, the risk of malaria in São Tomė is low, and extremely low in Príncipe, which at time of research had entered the pre-eradication stage. Antimalarials are still recommended for São Tomé; travellers to Príncipe only should check with their travel medicine provider to see if they are necessary. Risk is at its lowest everywhere during the dry season.

Your doctor will prescribe the right antimalarial drug for your situation. In general, doxycycline and Malarone are relatively problem free, whereas mefloquine has some unpleasant psychological side effects while being no more effective than the alternatives.


Availability & Cost of Healthcare

Healthcare in STP relies on foreign aid, including a large medical mission from Taiwan. Expats turn to the Gnostica Medical Center, where a normal appointment runs €10. The São Tomė city hospital should be avoided.

Tap Water

Only drink bottled water in STP.