Healthcare in Paraguay

 

 

Paraguay or also fondly called Corazón de América (Heart of America) has become one of the most sought-after expat destinations in its region. It boasts not just one of the highest Gross Domestic Products in South America but also a fairly good healthcare system that caters to locals and foreign assignees alike.

Paraguay has a fairly high life expectancy rate which is 78 years for females and 72 for male, proving that it does a great job on taking care of the health of its people. In fact, according to World Health Organisation (WHO), around 37.7% of the total government expenditure goes to healthcare which is nearly 7.6% of the national GDP. This spending or the entire healthcare budget is overseen by the Paraguayan Public Health and Social Welfare Ministry (PHSWM) (Ministerio de Salud Pública y Bienestar Social), which only recently stated that its primary goal is to improve the accessibility of healthcare to all. Though the local government and the PHSWM have significantly improved sanitation, medical services and access to safe drinking water in most major cities, the situation is still not the same in rural areas. Expats are strongly advised to get vaccinated against diarrhoea, HIV, tuberculosis and malaria before flying in.

Healthcare Coverage for Expats

Locals and foreigners are provided access to a universal healthcare system, which is primarily funded through taxation. These services, however, are limited to outpatient and emergency services. Sickness and maternity benefits are extended to all employed individuals, including those working in decentralised state entities and semi-government enterprises. Public-sector employees, policemen and military men, however, are excluded from this coverage. Self-employed individuals may access this benefit through voluntary contributions. To qualify for cash sickness and maternity benefits, the insured must have contributed for at least six weeks in the last four months. An individual must be currently insured to qualify for medical benefits.

Aside from free public health insurance, Paraguay has private health insurers and health services offered by the Social Security Institute. Under the social insurance system, permanent residents are covered for sickness and maternity. Expats most often explore the benefits of private medical insurers that offer a larger geographical coverage than being restricted only to Paraguay.

Workers’ Medical Benefits

Workers’ Medical Benefits provide coverage for general and specialist care, hospitalisation, laboratory care, prostheses, maternity care, dental care and medicine. The eligible dependents of the worker, including his wife and minor children, are extended the same medical benefits.

The Work Injury benefit, under a unified pension scheme, covers all employed individuals. A special system, however, was designed for public-sector employees. To qualify for Temporary and Permanent Disability Benefits, three authorised doctors shall assess the patient’s degree of disability. Further information on the above-mentioned benefits is available at the Social Insurance Institute.

Doctors and Hospitals

The healthcare system in Paraguay is severely understaffed, and currently, there are only 11.1 doctors per 10,000 people; a ratio that is less than the half of the regional standard. Paraguay also suffers from a shortage of qualified midwives and nurses whereas the ratio is only 17.9 per 10,000 persons. Because of the serious lack of medical professional in this country, the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba is aiding in educating more Paraguayan doctors to help address the issue. Expats will find a majority of the physicians and nurses working in major cities like Asunción, the capital.

Currently, there are 1,000 state-funded hospital and clinics across the country. The largest private hospitals, which are recommended for expats, are located in Encarnacion, San Ignacio, Ciudad del Este and the capital Asuncion.

Tel: 418 0146

Avenida General José Gervasio Artigas 1500, Asunción, Paraguay

Tel: +595 21 217 1000

Eligio Ayala 1383 y Pai Perez, Asuncion, 1383, Paraguay

Tel: +595 21 228 600

  • Centro Medico Bautista

Avenida Republica Argentina, Asuncion, Paraguay

Tel: +595 21 600 171

 

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