What is healthcare in Colombia like?

Facilities and Health Information

Medical care is adequate in major cities but varies greatly in quality and accessibility elsewhere. Emergency rooms in Colombia, even at top-quality facilities, are frequently overcrowded and ambulance service can be slow. Many private health care providers in Colombia require that patients pay for care before treatment, even in an emergency. Some providers in major cities may accept credit cards, but those that don’t may request advance payment in cash. Uninsured travelers without financial resources may be relegated to seeking treatment in public hospitals where the standard of care is below U.S. standards.

Elective Surgery: The Department of State regularly receives reports of U.S. citizens who have died or suffered complications from liposuction and other elective surgeries overseas. Before undergoing such a procedure in Colombia, consult with your personal physician, research the credentials of the provider in Colombia, and carefully consider your ability to access emergency medical care if complications arise. It is important to confirm that your medical insurance provides coverage in Colombia, including treatment of complications from elective procedures or medical evacuation if necessary. If you suffer complications as a result of medical malpractice, collecting damages from your surgeon may be difficult.

Unregulated Drugs: Colombia has seen a recent increase in the use of unregulated drugs that purport to enhance sexual performance. Some tourists have died after using these substances, which come in liquid, powder, or tablet form. You are urged to seek guidance from a physician before ingesting such substances in Colombia.

Altitude Sickness: Travelers to the capital city of Bogota may need time to adjust to the altitude of 8,600 feet, which can affect blood pressure, digestion, and energy level, and cause mild dyspnea with exercise, headaches, sleeplessness, and other discomfort. Drink plenty of fluids to maintain hydration, and avoid strenuous exercise until you have acclimated to the altitude. If you have circulatory or respiratory problems, consult a physician before traveling to Bogota or other high-altitude locations.

Drinking Water Source - % of rural population improved


Drinking Water Source - % of total population unimproved


Drinking Water Source - % of urban population improved

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 87.5% of population

total: 97.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 12.5% of population

total: 2.3% of population

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population


People Living with HIV/AIDS


Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population


Sanitation Facility Access - % of total population unimproved


Sanitation Facility Access - % of urban population improved

improved: urban: 99.1% of population

rural: 87.7% of population

total: 97% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.9% of population

rural: 12.3% of population

total: 3% of population

Sanitation Facility Access - % of rural population improved


Infectious Diseases - degree of risk

degree of risk: high

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and sexually transmitted diseases: hepatitis B

Food or Waterborne Disease (s)

bacterial diarrhea

Vectorborne Disease (s)

dengue fever, malaria, and yellow fever

Disability Access In Colombia


While in Colombia, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. Colombian law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, or the provision of other state services, and the government seeks to enforce these prohibitions. No law mandates access to public buildings for persons with disabilities, thus limiting the power of the government to penalize schools or offices without access. National and local governments are addressing this issue with programs aimed at improving access.

Access to buildings, pedestrian paths and transportation is extremely difficult for persons with disabilities. A few major shopping centers and residential buildings in the wealthier neighborhoods of Bogotá have access ramps and elevators. Most hospitals in major cities are also wheelchair accessible. However, sidewalks (if they exist) are very uneven and rarely have ramps at intersections. Pedestrian crossings are also very infrequent and traffic almost never give pedestrians (disabled or otherwise) the right of way. Most, but not all, cafes, restaurants, hotels and residential buildings have stairs at the entrance without wheelchair ramps. Buses and taxis do not have special accommodations for disabled


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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