What is healthcare in Zambia like?

Facilities and Health Information

Government hospitals and clinics are often understaffed and lack supplies. Private medical clinics in major cities can provide reasonable care in many cases, but major medical emergencies usually require medical evacuation to South Africa, Europe, or the United States. The nearest air ambulances are based in South Africa. In addition to purchasing medical insurance that covers medical evacuation (see below), U.S. citizens may wish to register with a medical rescue/ambulance service in Zambia, as this can facilitate quick action in an emergency. Some lodges in Zambia may do this on behalf of travelers automatically. Basic medical care outside of major cities is extremely limited. Throughout the country doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. See the Embassy’s list of health care providers in Zambia, including ambulance service.

Travelers should carry their prescription drugs and medications in the original labeled containers, as well as the written prescription from their physician. Travelers who cannot get a doctor’s note for their over-the-counter medications may wish to leave them behind or risk possible arrest. Refer to the section onCriminal Penaltiesabove for more information about over-the-counter medications.

Rabies, a preventable but fatal illness most often transmitted through the bite of an infected animal, is prevalent in Zambia. While rabies vaccine is available in some parts of Zambia, the post-exposure prophylaxis rabies immunoglobulin is NOT available in Zambia. You should consult with your health care professional about vaccination prior to your trip. If you have not been vaccinated and are bitten, post-exposure prophylaxis should be sought urgently outside Zambia. U.S. citizens in Zambia have been bitten by monkeys, baboons, dogs, and other animals which potentially carry the rabies virus.

Drinking Water Source - % of rural population improved


Drinking Water Source - % of total population unimproved


Drinking Water Source - % of urban population improved


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


Sanitation Facility Access - % of rural population improved


Infectious Diseases - degree of risk

very high

Animal Contact Disease (s)


Food or Waterborne Disease (s)

bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

Vectorborne Disease (s)

malaria and dengue fever

Water contact disease (s)


Disability Access In Zambia


Accessibility for the Physically-Impaired: While in Zambia, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what is available in the United States. In 2012, the Zambian government passed legislation (the Persons with Disability Act) to promote equal opportunities in the civil, political, economic, and social spheres for persons with disabilities and to incorporate disability issues into the national policy and developmental framework. As the law is new, implementation may take a long time. It is important to note that, although Zambia is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; the Zambian government has not mandated accessibility to public buildings and services for persons with disabilities; public buildings, schools, and hospitals generally do not accommodate persons with 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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