Health and Medical Information

Namibia’s medical facilities are excellent and there a few health risks, which makes it a fairly safe country to travel. With one doctor per 3 000 people Namibia has one of the best ratios in Africa and practitioners are qualified on an international level. The capital of Windhoek offers all medication and medical supplies.

One of the most challenging aspects to your body will be the heat and the sun. Don’t be shy in applying sunblock and make sure to drink enough water. If you are feeling drowsy in the heat a pinch of salt might do the trick.

Hospitals and Emergency Services

Almost every major town in Namibia has a hospital. Rural settlements will usually have a MHSS (Ministry of Health and Social Services) clinic or health-care centre. Windhoek has several world-standard private hospitals and you will find more private clinics in Swakopmund, Otjiwarongo, Tsumeb, Walvis Bay and Ongwediva.

International SOS (ISOS) Namibia caters to emergencies even in the most remote regions of Namibia. The 24 hour alarm centre is based in Windhoek. A well maintained road network, countless landing strips and a well-developed charter industry allow ISOS to respond to even the most remote emergencies in a minimal amount of time. Two fully equipped ambulance aircrafts and the backing of ISOS South Africa make ISOS the leading emergency medical provider in Namibia.

E-MED Rescue 24 is another ambulance and emergency evacuation service based in Windhoek. Their rescue aircraft caters to all of Namibia as well as neighbouring countries.

Malaria

Malaria is a disease carried by a type of mosquito that can be fatal. Since Namibia is a predominantly dry country the disease only occurs in the north of the country, especially during the rainy season (October-April). The best way to prevent Malaria is not to get stung by mosquitoes. Not every mosquito bite causes malaria. However, if you think that you have been bitten or even if you have been to a high risk area, watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Rigours/shaking
  • Headache
  • Backache
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting and malaise

If you encounter any of these symptoms during or after your stay, please contact a doctor immediately for a professional diagnosis.

Malaria prophylactics prevent the malaria. Consult your physician before taking the tablets. If you choose to use prophylactics, take the first tablet 24-48 hours before entering the risk area and continue the treatment for 5-7 days after leaving the area.

Whether you use prophylactics are not, it is advisable not to get bitten in the first place. Several precautions are recommended:

  • Sleep under a mosquito net at night. Nets that are treated with mosquito repellent are even better.
  • Avoid going outside between duck and dawn.
  • Cover as much skin as possible. Wear light colours as dark colours attract mosquitos.
  • Use coils and pellets with insect repellent (pyrethrum).
  • Use mosquito repellent for exposed skin.
  • Sleep in rooms that are sealed with mosquito nets or use insecticide on doors and windows.

HIV/Aids

The HIV virus is a severe problem in Africa and Namibia has been heavily affected. It is foolish to believe that HIV/AIDS is a problem of a certain social or racial group. The virus knows no race or class, so if you choose to engage in intercourse with a stranger, wear a condom. The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MHSS) has found 17.8% of pregnant women HIV positive. The government and several NGOs, churches and community initiatives are doing their best to fight HIV/AIDS by establishing counselling and testing centres and raising awareness throughout the country. If you are thinking of supporting a charity, the fight against HIV/Aids is a good place to put your money.