Health & insurance
Be sure to visit a travel clinic well in advance of your departure, so you can make sure your immunizations are up to date. As long as you follow basic preventative measures, you're unlikely to get seriously ill in Africa.
Before You Go
A solid travel insurance plan is a wise investment – but be sure to check the fine print. Find out whether your insurance plan covers you while overseas. Make sure that your policy covers emergency transport to a hospital in a major city or out of the country, with a medical attendant if necessary. To cover all possible scenarios, check to see if the insurance includes medical repatriation.
The following vaccinations are recommended for travel in Senegal: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningococcal meningitis, typhoid, yellow fever and boosters for tetanus, diphtheria and measles.
Availability & Cost of Healthcare
Health care varies dramatically from region to region in Senegal. For serious problems, Dakar is the place to go – it has some of the best facilities in West Africa.
Prices here are considerably lower than in Europe, though costs can rise astronomically if you need to be evacuated.
Malaria is a serious concern in Senegal, and the risks shouldn't be taken lightly. There are various effective anti-malarial regimens recommended for travellers, including atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine. Chloroquine is not advised as mosquitoes here have shown drug resistance to it.
Aside from taking antimalarials, you should obviously avoid being bitten in the first place. Know that no medication is totally effective, but protection of up to 95% is achievable with most drugs. A few tips:
- Sleep in a screened room, use a mosquito spray or coils and sleep under a mosquito net.
- Cover up at night with long trousers and long sleeves, preferably in clothing treated with permethrin.
- Apply repellent to exposed areas.
Never drink tap water in Senegal unless it has been boiled, filtered or chemically disinfected (with iodine tablets for instance).