What is healthcare in India like?

Facilities and Health Information

The quality of medical care in India varies considerably. Medical care in the major population centers approaches and occasionally meets Western standards, but adequate medical care is usually very limited or unavailable in rural areas.

If you are arriving in India from Sub-Saharan Africa or other yellow-fever areas, Indian health regulations require that you present evidence of vaccination against yellow fever. If you do not have such proof, you could be subjected to immediate deportation or a six-day detention in the yellow-fever quarantine center. If you transit through any part of sub-Saharan Africa, even for one day, you are advised to carry proof of yellow fever immunization.

Good information on vaccinations and other health precautions are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or by calling the hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747). Some vaccines such as Typhoid, Influenza, and Hepatitis A are recommended for all travelers, and other vaccines such as Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis, and Rabies are recommended for high-risk travelers.

A high risk of rabies transmission exists in most of India with dogs and bats posing the most common threat. Vaccination is recommended for all prolonged stays with a priority for young children and travelers in rural areas. It is also recommended for shorter stays that involve occupational exposure; locations more than 24 hours' travel from a reliable source of human rabies immune globulin and rabies vaccine for post-exposure treatment; adventure travelers, hikers, cave explorers, and backpackers. Monkeys also can transmit rabies and herpes B, among other diseases, to human victims. Avoid feeding monkeys. If bitten, you should immediately soak and scrub the bite for at least 15 minutes and seek urgent medical attention.

Influenza is transmitted from November to April in areas north of the Tropic of Cancer, and from June through November (the rainy season) in areas south of the Tropic of Cancer, with a smaller peak from February through April; off-season transmission can also occur. All travelers are at increased risk. The influenza vaccine is recommended for all travelers during the flu season.

Outbreaks of Avian Influenza (H5N1 virus) occur intermittently in eastern India, including West Bengal, Manipur, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, and Assam. For further information on avian influenza (bird flu), please refer to the Department of State's Avian Influenza Fact Sheet.

Malaria prophylaxis depends on the time of year and area the traveler is visiting. Please consult the CDC website for more information. Dengue fever presents a significant risk in urban and rural areas. The highest number of cases is reported from July to December, with cases peaking from September to October. Daytime insect precautions are recommended.

For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information. These websites provide useful information, such as suggested vaccinations for visitors to India, safe food and water precautions, appropriate measures to avoid contraction of mosquito-borne diseases (such as malaria and Japanese B encephalitis), suggestions to avoid altitude sickness, etc. Further, these sites provide information on disease outbreaks that may arise from time to time. Outbreaks of mosquito-borne viral diseases such as dengue fever and chikungunya occur in various parts of India each year. You should check these sites shortly before traveling to India. Further health information for travelers is available from the WHO.

Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in India. For further information, please consult the CDC’s Travel Notice on TB.

For emergency services, dial 112 from a cell phone; from a landline, dial 100 for police, 102 for an ambulance (108 in parts of South India), and 101 for fire. Ambulances are not equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment, and traffic does not yield to emergency vehicles. Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance. Most hospitals require advance payment or confirmation of insurance prior to treatment. Payment practices vary and credit cards are not routinely accepted for medical care.

Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry. Companies offering vacation packages bundled with medical consultations and financing options provide direct-to-consumer advertising over the internet. Such medical packages often claim to provide high-quality care, but the quality of health care in India is highly variable. People seeking health care in India should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States and are not subject to the same rules and regulations. Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling and refer to the information from the CDC. Persons traveling to India for medical purposes require the proper “medical” visa. Please check with the nearest Indian Embassy or consulate for more information.

Despite reports of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospitals, travelers should generally not delay or avoid treatment for urgent or emergent medical situations. However, health tourists and other travelers who may be contemplating elective procedures in this country should carefully research individual hospital infection control practices.

Rh-negative blood may be difficult to obtain as it is not common in Asia.

Commercial surrogacy, a growing industry in India, remains unregulated, operating solely under non-binding government guidelines. There are concerns that the interests and rights of commissioning parents, surrogates, egg donors, and the resulting children may not always be adequately protected.

In order for a child born of surrogacy to acquire U.S. citizenship and obtain a U.S. passport, sufficient proof must be submitted showing a genetic relationship between the newborn child and a U.S.-citizen parent. This is best accomplished through DNA testing. Newborns found not to have acquired U.S. citizenship at birth risk being stateless persons unable to obtain travel documents as Indian law prohibits the issuance of Indian passports to children born of surrogacy. With no right to other citizenship, infants may find themselves stranded in India.

If you are considering traveling to India for assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures, please contact the Embassy or one of the Consulates General well in advance and review the available information to learn if your child born from ART could be documented as a U.S. citizen.

After the birth of your child, you should count on staying in India for at least two weeks to complete the Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen (CRBA) and passport application and to obtain an Indian exit visa.

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates General in India maintain lists of local doctors and hospitals, all of which are published on their respective websites under "U.S. Citizen Services." We cannot endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.

Drinking Water Source - % of rural population improved


Drinking Water Source - % of total population unimproved


Drinking Water Source - % of urban population improved

improved: urban: 96.9% of population

rural: 94.7% of population

total: 95.5% of population

unimproved: urban: 3.1% of population

rural: 5.3% of population

total: 4.5% 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


Diseases - note

Highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds

Sanitation Facility Access - % of total population unimproved


Sanitation Facility Access - % of urban population improved

improved: urban: 98.6% of population

rural: 75.2% of population

total: 83.4% of population

unimproved: urban: 1.4% of population

rural: 24.8% of population

total: 16.6% of population

Sanitation Facility Access - % of rural population improved


Infectious Diseases - degree of risk

degree of risk: very high

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria

water contact diseases: leptospirosis

animal contact diseases: rabies

Animal Contact Disease (s)


Food or Waterborne Disease (s)

Bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever

Vectorborne Disease (s)

Dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria

Water contact disease (s)


Disability Access In India


While in India, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different than what you find in the United States. Despite legislation that all public buildings and transport be accessible to the disabled, accessibility remains limited. One notable exception is the recently constructed Delhi metro system, designed to be accessible to those with physical disabilities.


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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