If you are planning to move to Tanzania, it’s best to go to your doctor to check that all your routine vaccinations are up to date and to discuss any other health precautions you may need to take. The risk of catching serious diseases like hepatitis A, typhoid fever, malaria, dengue fever, and rabies is quite high. The HIV/AIDS rate in the country is also high, affecting almost 5% of the population. Yellow fever is low risk in Tanzania, but you may want to consider getting vaccinated if you plan to visit yellow fever endemic countries that neighbour Tanzania (i.e. Kenya).
You may also want to consider anti-malarial medication. Personally, I do not take them as I live in a low-risk area and don’t want to pump my body with medication over an extended period of time. Instead, I take other precautions like regularly spraying my home and walls with insecticide, using mosquito repellent and long-sleeved clothes at night, and sleeping under a mosquito net. I do however use antimalarials if I am visiting high-risk zones near the coast or rural areas. Or you may just want to use them during the high malaria season from May to July. For more information on malaria, visit Malaria Spot.
Click below for information about health services in Arusha
Healthcare and medical insurance:
While the quality of most healthcare facilities is not quite up to the same standard as most Western countries, you will find some reputable hospitals/clinics in the major cities that are perfectly capable of dealing with most health issues. I found that talking to expats is the best way to find out which local GPs, private clinics and pediatricians to go to when certain medical care is needed. There are also plenty of pharmacies (duka la dawa) around to give advice and medication on minor complaints.
In more serious cases, you may be flown to Kenya or Johannesburg. Therefore it’s important that you have medical insurance that covers evacuation. There is public health insurance available in Tanzania, but you would have to discuss with your employer whether you will be covered or not. If not, then it’s advisable to sign up for a comprehensive private health insurance plan either with your company or on your own with an international insurance company. Make sure that you know exactly what your plan covers before moving to Tanzania.