Health Tips in India



As an expatriate in India, your employer might provide you with a health insurance plan. The cost of medical treatment is usually borne by the patient himself and could work out to 75-80% of the total cost incurred.

Here are a few insights in to what to expect when moving to the country. 

Healthcare in India 

Healthcare in India is administered through public and private hospitals. Most private hospitals in major cities are equipped with the latest equipments and are manned by English speaking staff that is well trained and professional. Healthcare in India costs very little compared to its cost in Western countries. However, private health insurance is an advantage.  


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Hospitals & Clinics 

Public Hospitals in India exist in both rural and urban areas. The facilities available at these hospitals are far from satisfactory. These hospitals mainly serve the poorer sections of society in villages and cities. 

Private hospitals offer good quality treatment and the standard of service available is anything from acceptable to excellent. There are many good private clinics and hospitals in all major cities. You must carry personal items like clothes and toiletries when you check in to a hospital and have a friend or family member check on you to see if you need anything else from time to time.  

Medicines & Pharmacies

Pharmacies (chemists) in India sell medicines with or without prescription. Though some attempts to check easy availability of medication without prescriptions have been made, there has been little success in the matter. Always purchase your medication at licensed pharmacies to avoid being the victim of sale of spurious drugs. These pharmacies employ trained staff who are particular about giving you the right medication. Most pharmacies in major cities are open between 9am and 10pm. There is at least one 24 hour pharmacy in every major city in addition to those attached to hospitals. It is very difficult to procure even basic medical supplies in rural India. 


Doctors in India, particularly those in urban areas, are well trained and speak fluent English. The best way of finding a doctor is asking your friends and colleagues. They will usually refer you to a general practitioner who may refer you to a specialist if you need one. They will also direct you to a testing facility and a chemist. General practitioners have their own clinics and are usually attached to one or two hospitals. Dentists are also well trained and offer basic to cosmetic treatment and perform surgeries. The cost of dental treatment is nothing compared to that in Western countries.  

"Ayurveda" is a popular alternative route to wellness and there are many practitioners of this science within the country. Insurers however do not cover the cost of such alternative treatment. 

Emergency Services 

The emergency services in India are not as prompt and efficient as those in Western countries. In case of an emergency the best way to reach a hospital or medical facility is your own transportation. Always keep a list of emergency numbers you can call and a map of the shortest route to a hospital or medical facility with you. Calling a taxi is the next best thing to do. Speak slowly and clearly so that the taxi driver and hospital staff can understand the problem.   

Emergency Contact Numbers

Following are the emergency numbers but remember operators may not speak and/or understand English. 

Police: 100

Fire: 101

Ambulance: 102  

Health Risks

Food and water may bring diseases. Dengue, Malaria and now the H1N1 flu are major health risks in the country. Always drink boiled or bottled water and eat homemade food that is freshly and hygienically prepared. The use of mosquito repellent coils and nets will reduce exposure to diseases like malaria, dengue and chikun gunya. Take basic precautions like washing your hands and covering your nose and mouth in crowded places to protect yourself from H1N1. Pollution levels in most Indian cities are high and could aggravate health conditions like asthma.