When it comes to healthcare in Cambodia, medical facilities and equipment may not meet the high international standards many expats are used to. This is particularly true of public healthcare, but even private hospitals offer only limited care. If an expat falls seriously ill or is badly injured, the best course of action is to be airlifted to Singapore or Bangkok, where a better quality of care is available. It’s for this reason that a good health insurance plan is essential.
While the public hospitals in Cambodia are generally understaffed and poorly equipped, there are some good private hospitals in Phnom Penh. Outside the capital, however, the options are limited.
Health insurance in Cambodia
Because of the generally poor standards of healthcare in Cambodia, expats are advised to take out comprehensive medical cover before they move. The insurance plan should cover medical evacuation, the cost of which can run into thousands of US dollars if uninsured.
Private healthcare in Cambodia
Expats living in Cambodia favour private hospitals and clinics, but these tend to be expensive. Clinics offer mainly general medical treatment, whereas specialist departments are found in hospitals. Private international clinics and hospitals in Phnom Penh also provide medical translation services and evacuations when needed, and are generally staffed by doctors who have trained in developed Western countries.
Pharmacies in Cambodia
A wide range of medications can be bought over the counter in Cambodia. However, counterfeit drugs are common, so expats are urged to avoid some of the smaller independent pharmacies that have been implicated in the trade of fake medicines.
Pharmacies are everywhere in Cambodian cities, but it’s best to stick to larger pharmacy chains such as UCare and Pharmacie de la Gare in Phnom Penh. Medication in Cambodia often costs considerably less than in Western countries.
Dentists in Cambodia
Contrary to the general standards of healthcare in Cambodia, dental services are excellent. Indeed, the country is making a name for itself for dental tourism and English-speaking dentists who have trained in Europe or the US are relatively easy to find.
Emergency services in Cambodia
Ambulance services in Cambodia are not always prompt and the public emergency telephone number (119) sometimes goes unanswered. If possible, expats should make their own way to one of the major international hospitals in case of a medical emergency.
►Banking, Money and Taxes in Cambodia is a useful guide for managing money in the country
"Insurance is a must for anyone coming here. Healthcare is renowned for being sub-standard and poorly equipped to handle anything serious. Insurance needs to cover you for medical evacuation to the nearest decent hospital (Bangkok is the best bet) that can handle your emergency."
Read more of Clare's expat interview about living in Cambodia.
Are you an expat living in Cambodia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Cambodia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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