The healthcare system in Senegal has been improving a lot over the last few years, thanks to a dedicated budget that has tripled between 1980 and 2000. However, there still remains some disparities, as doctors are not equally distributed across the country and are mainly located in Dakar. There are two types of medical insurances in Senegal: one that is public and one that is private. Due to the public sector’s shortcomings, the number of private medical offices has increased significantly. Overall, Senegal offers good quality care in major cities but the quality of medical services in the rest of the country remains quite poor.
Visiting a doctor in Senegal
Many doctors speak French. However, you need to go to large cities if you wish to see a doctor who speaks English. Consultations usually require an appointment and take place from Monday to Friday, between 9.30 a.m./12.30 p.m. and 4 p.m. /6 p.m.
The cost of a consultation with a GP in the private sector is usually around 10,000 CFA Francs (around €15) while a consultation with a specialist in the private sector costs an average of 20,000 CFA Francs (around €30). Many doctors have received their training in France and the quality of medical care and services is very good. However, medical equipment is sometimes missing, in particular for medical imaging.
Remember to keep all of your invoices in order to be reimbursed by your international health insurance plan in Senegal.
Being admitted to hospital in Senegal
Clinics open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and hospitals provide 24/7 services. The healthcare system in Senegal includes public and private hospitals. The quality of care is quite good in hospitals located in large cities; however urgent care may not always be provided and you have to pay for a significant amount of money to be able to access most medical services (you will usually have to pay cash rather than by credit card).
In the event of a life-threatening emergency, you may have to be transported to a more appropriate destination; in this case do not hesitate to contact your international health insurance.
Buying medication in Senegal
Pharmacies can be found across the entire country. In Dakar, pharmacies provide many different drugs. Be aware of counterfeit drugs which are common in Senegal. If you go to rural areas, it is advised to bring your own medication and prescriptions with you.
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