What is healthcare in Latvia like?

Facilities and Health Information:

The quality of medical care in Latvia continues to improve, but still often falls short of Western standards. Latvia has many highly trained medical professionals, but hospitals and clinics still suffer from a lack of equipment and resources. The 2008-2009 economic crisis has resulted in further strains in health service budgets. Many doctors speak at least some English. There are few private clinics in major cities that offer services equal to Western European or U.S. standards. Elderly travelers and those with health problems may be at increased risk.

Western-quality dental care can be obtained in Riga. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services, particularly if immigration status in Latvia is unclear.

Ambulance service for emergencies is available by dialing 113; however, response time is poor in rural areas. Air ambulance service is available for medical evacuations; however, it is very expensive and advance payment or guarantee letter from an insurance company is required before a patient is transported.

Pharmaceuticals sold in Latvia are produced by companies certified in accordance with EU standards. Products of most major pharmaceutical manufacturers are sold in pharmacies in Latvia; however, they will not necessarily be labeled the same as in the United States and instructions are often not printed in English.

Tick-borne encephalitis and Lyme disease are widespread throughout the country. Those intending to visit parks or forested areas in Latvia are urged to speak with their health care practitioners. Tick-borne encephalitis vaccinations are given as a series of three doses, and are not available in the United States. There are no vaccines against Lyme disease. Hepatitis A is also a significant problem in Latvia.

Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Latvia.

Drinking Water Source - % of rural population improved"

95.8%

Drinking Water Source - % of total population unimproved:

1.6%

Drinking Water Source - % of urban population improved:

99.6%

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.7%

Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population:

5.3

People Living with HIV/AIDS:

8,600

Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population:

2.9

Sanitation Facility Access - % of total population unimproved:

21.4%

Sanitation Facility Access - % of urban population improved:

82.1%

Sanitation Facitlity Access - % of rural population improved:

71.1%

Infectious Diseases - degree of risk:

intermediate

Vectorborne Disease (s):

tickborne encephalitis

Disability Access In Latvia

Accessibility:

While in Latvia, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodations very different from what you find in the United States. The law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, education, access to health care, and other state services, and the government generally enforces these provisions. The law mandates access to buildings for persons with disabilities; however, most buildings are not yet accessible.

Although Latvia has made efforts to improve disabled access, only new and completely renovated hotels, guest houses, hostels, and public buildings provide suitable facilities for seriously disabled travelers. Easy-access public transportation and taxis are rare.

Accessibility of foot paths and road crossings is improving but, in most places, still fails to meet the legal standards. The Old City has mostly cobblestone streets which can be difficult for those with disabilities. Snow and ice are common on sidewalks during winter months and can be hazardous. Free or reduced fares on public transportation are available to Latvian residents only.

Disclaimer

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