Healthcare in Ivory Coast



The healthcare system of Ivory Coast had been adversely affected by political and civil unrest in the past years. As such, the government was unable to meet the health care needs of the majority of the Ivorian population.

Following the civil war which broke out in 2002, the government of Ivory Coast introduced free healthcare to all citizens of the country. However, the organisation and implementation of the healthcare policy had many loopholes and was not stable, making hospitals and physicians struggle with the huge demand for medical services from the Ivorian nationals. This led to the government dropping the free public healthcare system for the public, leaving only mothers and children under six years of age eligible for medical services free of charge. This means that mothers do not have to pay for deliveries and children will get free treatment for illnesses.

Healthcare Coverage for Expats

As mentioned earlier, there is no universal public healthcare scheme in Ivory Coast where expats can participate into. Though the state continues to support the medical needs of its citizens by covering the expenses of pregnant women and children no more than seven years old, it will still be inadequate for foreign assignees. Foreign nationals who are moving to Ivory Coast are strictly recommended to get private health insurance before relocation in the country. This is to guarantee that in the case of a medical emergency, they will be attended to by private clinics and facilities.

Doctors in Ivory Coast

According to the statistics released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Ivory Coast only has nine physicians, 31 nurses and 15 midwives per 10,000 people. The significant lack of medical personnel in this country is because of the series of political turmoil and the heavy demand from an unstable healthcare system. Available doctors and medical staff in Ivory Coast are further divided between the public and private healthcare sectors whereas the latter is the most ideal option for expats since it houses General Practitioners and specialists in the fields of paediatrics, obstetrics and cardiology.

Furthermore, there is also a shortage of medicine, and even if it is available, it is expensive for the common people to afford. Those who cannot afford to seek medical treatment from hospitals turn instead to traditional forms of healing. This is common in the rural areas of Ivory Coast where Western medical treatments are still out of reach.

Hospitals and Emergency Services

Construction of most hospitals in Ivory Coasts date back to 1960s to 1980s, and only a few have been renovated. Those who want to avail of better health services in Ivory Coast are advised to go to Abidjan. The country’s largest city has more private health facilities and hospitals that offer quality services but at a high cost. Among the reputable private hospitals in Abidjan include Hotel Dieu and Polyclinique Internationale Sainte Anne-Marie (PISAM) which provide patients with adequate medical services. While some private health facilities in Abidjan offer cashless services with insurers, patients are sometimes required to pay their medical expenses by cash.

When it comes to emergency services, Ivory Coast also suffers from a shortage of ambulance vehicles and immediate response teams. In case of an emergency in Ivory Coast, below are the numbers which should be contacted:

  • Medical Emergency: 111
  • Fire Department: 180
  • Police: 110,111 and 170


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