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Healthcare and Medical TreatmentBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
Colombia - Healthcare and Medical Treatment
The hospitals in the country offer a good quality of care, and the staff are well trained and professional. Many have trained at universities in the UK or the US so English speaking expats should feel comfortable in their care.
Heart disease is the primary cause of premature death in Colombia. This is followed by strokes, respiratory diseases, road accidents and diabetes. There are diseases which are spread by infected water in the lowland and coastal areas, such as cerebral malaria and leishmaniasis. Immunizations for children against infectious diseases are regularly carried out and the country’s programme of vaccinations is excellent, with over 90% of the population included.
The fifth leading cause of death in the working age population in Colombia is acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Nearly 240,000 people, the majority of which are women and young people, or 0.6% of the population had been infected with the AIDS virus since it arrived in Colombia in late 1983, according to Colombia's National Health Institute. In 2005, it was estimated that the number of adults and children, between the ages of 0 and 49 years of age, living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) ranged from 160,000 to 310,000. The comparable figure for women, between the ages of 15 and 49 years, was 62,000. The number of AIDS and Hepatitis B cases was on the rise.
Expats are advised to take out private medical insurance, even if they pay into the national healthcare plan. Most health issues can be dealt with at one of the many hospitals or clinics, but if you should require treatment for a specific illness then it is advisable to have the extra cover in case specialist care is required. If you already have a condition which requires regular medication then it is a good idea to check in advance if your medication is authorised in Colombia, as there are some drugs which are not, even if they are widely available in countries such as the UK and the USA. If not, you should consult with your doctor about alternatives prior to travelling.
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Expat Health Insurance Partners
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