Healthcare in Algeria is not up to the standards that many expats may be used to. This is due to public healthcare being badly underfunded and hindered by bureaucratic obstacles. While services are adequate in the major cities, such as Algiers or Oran, healthcare provision in remote areas is poor to non-existent.
Public healthcare in Algeria
Public healthcare is provided free to all Algerian citizens. Due to budgeting and bureaucratic issues, however, the standards of public healthcare in Algeria remain poor. The majority of medical staff will speak French, with English not widely spoken.
Expats working in Algeria have access to free public healthcare via the social security system. The employer is responsible for registering their foreign staff and monthly contributions will be paid by the company as well as deducted from the employee’s salary.
Private healthcare in Algeria
Private healthcare provision is steadily growing in Algeria and standards are generally higher than within the public domain. Due to local staff shortages, private clinics are often staffed by foreign medical professionals, and expats are therefore more likely to encounter doctors who can speak English here. Hospitals and clinics often expect cash payments up front for treatments.
Private health insurance in Algeria
There is no existing private health insurance scheme in Algeria. Expats should arrange comprehensive health insurance before their arrival in the country, especially if working in remote areas. This should include local emergency care and possible repatriation to a country with better health facilities.
Pharmacies in Algeria
Pharmacies are widely available in Algerian towns and cities, and they're a well-trusted source of medical advice. They're open daily during the week, and in shifts on weekends and evenings.
It is generally easy to get over-the-counter medicines in Algeria, but prescriptions may be difficult to fill. It may also be difficult to get prescription drugs of good quality in Algeria, especially beyond Algiers. New arrivals should try to bring medication for chronic medical conditions in large quantities. Expats should bring copies of prescriptions in case of immigration or customs queries over the importation of medication, and should also consider bringing French translations of medical documents.
Health risks in Algeria
Heatstroke and dehydration are major health risks for expats due to the extreme heat in parts of the country. It’s important to stay well hydrated at all times. Bottled water is recommended as the tap water in Algeria isn't drinkable. Sand and dust storms are also a health risk for those with preexisting respiratory conditions.
Emergency services in Algeria
In case of an emergency, expats can dial 112 from a mobile phone. That said, operators may only speak French and emergency response times may be slow, especially in remote regions. Expats should also have their embassy’s emergency number saved.
• EU Emergency line: 112
• Ambulance: 213
• Fire department: 14
• Police: 17
►Learn more about adjusting to life in this North African country in Culture Shock in Algeria.
Are you an expat living in Algeria?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Algeria. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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