Botswana Medical Travel Information

Medical Facilities and Health Information Private medical facilities in Gaborone are adequate for simple medical problems, but facilities outside of Gaborone are severely limited. Adequately equipped emergency rooms and trained physicians are available in the capital but services are rudimentary elsewhere. Professional private emergency rescue services operate air and ground ambulances throughout the country, but care is rendered only after a patient’s ability to pay is established. Response times are often slow in less populated areas. Outside of Gaborone, most airports are either not equipped or may have malfunctioning night lighting capability, so airborne medical evacuations can often only be conducted during daylight hours. Malaria is prevalent only in the north of the country, particularly around the Chobe and Okavango National Parks. Malaria prophylaxis is not required in Gaborone but is suggested for travel to the north. For advanced care, U.S. citizens often choose to travel to South Africa. Many South African manufactured prescription drugs are available in Gaborone.

In many areas of Botswana (including Gaborone), tap water can be unsafe and should be avoided or boiled for at least one minute before drinking. Bottled water and beverages are believed to be safe. However, visitors should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Ice may also come from tap water and should be avoided.
Approximately one-quarter of the population of Botswana is infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Travelers are advised to exercise appropriate precautions if engaging in sexual activity, or if exposed to blood products through injuries or rendering assistance to accident victims. Tuberculosis is also endemic to Botswana. Several hundred cases of extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) have been identified in Botswana since January 2008 when Botswana first obtained the ability to test for this form of TB. Individuals who plan to reside or stay in Botswana for extended periods are advised to obtain a tuberculosis skin test (PPD test) prior to arrival and again upon departure from Botswana. There are occasional diarrhea outbreaks in areas affected by heavy rains. Travelers in those regions are encouraged to take necessary precautions when handling food and drinking water.
Drinking Water Source - percent of rural population improved 92.8%
Drinking Water Source - percent of total population unimproved 3.2%
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 99.3%
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 24.8%
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population 1.8
People Living with HIV/AIDS 320,000
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population .34
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of total population unimproved 35.7%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved 77.9%
Sanitation Facitlity Access - percent of rural population improved 41.8%
Major Infectious Diseases - degree of risk high
Food or Waterborne Disease (s) bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne Disease (s) malaria

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You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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