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Bahrain - Health Service
The CPR Card
The Bahraini government is expanding and integrating many of the country’s e-services provisions. Access to these and many other permits and services is through the Central Population Registry (CPR) card, which allocates a unique number to each individual. The card is soon to be replaced by smart cards, and different online services will be combined into one CPR-accessed hub.
If you’re living in Bahrain legally, you can and do need to obtain one of these cards. Read more about the application process in the article How to Apply for the New CPR Card in Bahrain.
Bahrain Medical Services Are Excellent
Over the past few years, the healthcare industry in Bahrain has transformed into a modern, sophisticated sector, staffed by highly trained and qualified individuals. Both the private and state health sectors are held in high regard.
The Bahraini authorities pride themselves on the progress they have made in the healthcare sector over the last few decades. The island has more doctors and nurses for each resident than any other nation in the Gulf. The wide network of hospitals ensures that you are never too far away from a facility, regardless of your location.
Of course, some expats prefer to return home for serious or specialist treatments, but with the services on offer in Bahrain today, this is unlikely to be necessary.
English Speaking Medical Services
Many of the medical personnel working in Bahrain have trained or worked in English speaking countries. In a country where more than half the population are expats, you’ll find many of those migrants working in the health industry.
When the Internations.org survey found that Manama is the easiest place in the world to settle, 92% of respondents cited their ability to live there without any Arabic language skills as a key benefit.
You can find out more about this in the Speaking the Language section of this country guide, but you can be assured that language will not be a barrier to accessing medical treatment in Bahrain.
Healthcare For Bahraini Employees
As an employee in Bahrain, you’ll have pension deductions made from your regular paycheck to build up a pension entitlement.
You’ll also get entitlement to the state healthcare system for a nominal fee. However, many expats also seek private healthcare insurance to increase access to English-speaking specialists or overseas treatment in the event of serious illness or accident.
Whilst Bahraini citizens have access to a good social security system, it is funded centrally, meaning migrants workers cannot pay to join the scheme. However, if you have a work-related accident, you will receive some compensation, regardless of your nationality.
Remember that if you moved to Bahrain to work, being unable to carry out your job will affect your legal right to be in the country. If an accident or illness will prevent you from working for a lengthy or indefinite period, you must sort out your visa status or immediately plan to move back home.
The Cost of Private Healthcare In Bahrain
Whilst there are basic services available and many employers offer private health insurance as part of the employment package, it’s not uncommon for individuals to be left covering their own care costs.
Luckily, medical bills are cheaper in Bahrain than the US, but you can’t foresee expensive, long-term treatment, and costs quickly mount up. For example, a heart operation could cost you a year’s salary. Providing an incubator and round-the-clock care for a premature baby will easily surpass six figures. It’s always best to insure against these costs, especially as they may be incurred at the same time that you are at risk of losing your earnings, and possibly the right to stay in Bahrain.
When choosing which is the right policy for you, consider your circumstances and declare any pre-existing conditions. You don’t want to find out later that you are denied a specific treatment because you bought a cheaper policy with a limited range of cover, or that the insurer has cancelled your policy for non-disclosure. There are good policies out there at a reasonable cost for the cover needed.
Expat Focus works with a number of insurance partners and obtaining a quick, free quote is easy to do.
Accessing Healthcare Services In Bahrain
ExpatFocus have published an Expat Guide to Healthcare in Bahrain which takes a comprehensive look at the services on offer, including public and private healthcare, plus a list of local hospitals.
Furthermore, a detailed review of the healthcare system is included in the article What is it Like to Live and Work in Bahrain? Subjects covered include vaccinations, dentists, opticians and medicines.
The Climate Of Bahrain Can Damage Your Health
As discussed in the Climate and Weather section of this country guide, there are two important risks to human health posed by the local climate.
Firstly, take care to avoid sunburn, sunstroke and dehydration. You can walk out of a refreshing air-conditioned apartment without preparing for the 40-degree wall of heat you’ll be travelling through. Sunscreen, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses and bottled water should always be picked up on your way out.
Secondly, dust and sand in the air cause problems for people who suffer from asthma and respiratory problems. You may have to curtail trips outside home on certain days.
Cholera In Bahrain
Cholera outbreaks are rare in Bahrain, but with so many visitors and workers arriving each day from countries with restricted or poor health infrastructure, they do occur from time to time. In 2015, for example, the disease quickly spread from west of Baghdad in Iraq to a number of nearby countries, including Bahrain.
There are a number of ways you can minimise the risk of catching cholera even in the midst of an outbreak:
• Use only clean water sources for drinking and food preparation,
• Keep your hands clean and avoid contact with eyes and mouth,
• Only order hot, cooked food without salad or fruit,
• Don’t put ice cubes in your drinks.
In the unlikely event that you fall ill with cholera, dehydration and kidney failure are the main risks, so medical attention is required.
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