Unfortunately, vacation doesn’t always go as planned and some visitors do need Health Care in The Dominican Republic during their holiday. Tourists that end up in a Dominican Republic Hospital most time became sick due to food poising, accidents or diseases. But don’t worry the Dominican Republic has the largest healthcare system in the Caribbean. Here you will find all you need to know about Health Care in the Dominican Republic.
How does Health Care in the Dominican Republic work?
The Health Care in the Dominican Republic has been undergoing reformations since the year 2000, this is absolutely great news for everyone involved as the former system was underfunded, inefficient, low quality, and resulted in a lot of extra expenses for the patients. The new system is split into three clear tiers:
- Contributive Regime: this is financed by workers and their employers
- Subsidized regime: this is financed by the state for the poor, unemployed, disabled
- Indigent contributive subsidized regime: this is financed by independent professionals, technical workers, and self-employed persons themselves, but subsidized by the state (instead of an employer)
As the country has both private and public doctors/hospitals, it is worth it checking with your health insurance if you are fully covered.
Medical Services and quality
In terms of medical services, health in the Dominican Republic is not far behind of developed countries. It even offers far better services than all other Caribbean nations. Its excellent reputation in the field of laparoscopic laser surgery and dentistry, attract patients from the Virgin Islands, the Lesser Antilles, USA and Canada to take advantage of the high-quality low-cost care. Most of these high-quality services are offered by private clinics which are well staffed and have the newest equipment. Fees range from DOP 500 to DOP 4000 (around 80 USD) for the first visit. Make sure upfront that your insurance covers treatments at these private hospitals.
Please keep in mind that general practitioners and family doctors are rare in the Dominican Republic. This is why you should choose an internist, instead of a general practitioner, who tends to your basic needs and refers you to specialists if needed. If you are unsure which doctor or clinic to choose then it is best to your contact insurance company for help or ask your friends and co-workers for recommendations. In case of emergency call 911.
Necessary vaccinations and precautions
Visiting the Dominican Republic requires tourists to take care of vaccinations and immunizations if they want to stay healthy. Next, to routine vaccinations like mumps, measles, and rubella, as well as pertussis, diphtheria, and tetanus, there are further health precautions that you need to keep in mind. Hepatitis A and B should by be a standard vaccination for tourists who travel abroad to lesser developed countries. If you also plan on spending quite some time outside the cities exploring the countryside and smaller towns of the Dominican Republic, then typhoid and rabies vaccinations are recommended.
Further malaria is prevalent in almost all areas of the Dominican Republic, except for the cities of Santo Domingo and Santiago. As a visitor who plans on spending months in the DR, it is likely that you will visit areas in the Dominican Republic where the risk of an infection is particularly high. In that case it is recommended that you talk to your doctor about taking antimalarial drugs such as chloroquine, atovaquone-proguanil, mefloquine or doxycycline. Taking precautions can be an effective way of preventing a malaria infection. Just make sure to use wear long sleeves and pants, insect repellent, and sleep in well-screened rooms or under bed nets.
Since 2016, there is a warning issued against the Zika virus in the Dominican Republic. The Zika virus can be dangerous for pregnant women and is transmitted by mosquitoes. It is recommended to take the same precautions as for preventing a malaria infection and to contact your embassy for more information in regards to the status of Zika in the Dominican Republic.