Lilongwe - Post Report Question and Answers
Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Anything serious will require a medevac. Local medical care is poor. Some locals even go to South Africa for medical care. Health unit will brief you. Pack some meds to cover the gammant of things that could happen. - Jul 2020
Our medical unit at the Embassy is pretty good, but most illnesses that are above the basics will require a medivac to South Africa. - Feb 2020
Malaria, take your prophylaxis or other appropriate cautions. Also, HIV remains prevalent and cholera is always a concern. Folks going to the lake also need to be mindful of the parasite that is endemic in the lake. - Sep 2018
Medical care is VERY limited here. Emergency care is practically non-existent. The Embassy routinely medevacs critical cases to Joburg. The Embassy has an excellent health unit, so we use that for most things. There is also a good dentist and radiologist in town. CMED is good for labs and xrays. - Jul 2017
The two major health issues are malaria and schistosomiasis (Bilharzia disease). It is recommended to be on malaria prophylaxis year round and take preventative measures (nets, spray, etc).
Lake Malawi is a beautiful and enticing lake. There are areas with higher concentrations of schisto and they are best to avoid. That being said many people will swim and snorkel! There is a test for schisto and treatment but best to talk to your healthcare provider.
There are a few local clinics that are used by expats (Partners In Hope & African Bible College Clinic) which have western-trained providers. The clinics have limited capacity in terms of diagnostic tools and laboratory. The Embassy also has a medical provider and two great expatriate nurses who have lived in Malawi for years. There is a new dentist in town who can do cleanings but major procedures are still medically evacuated. - Oct 2016
The quality of available medical care is very low and inconsistent. For anything serious, you will need to leave Malawi. The main health concern for us was malaria. - Aug 2015
Malaria is a major concern. Bilharzia from swimming in the lake but we just take prozy every six months and have been in every nice beach swimming in Lake Malawi from the far north to the south and have not tested positive for it. Excellent med unit at the Embassy--any serious issues will require being evacuated to South Africa. - Sep 2013
Lots of health concerns. Malaria is always an issue, and we get tested for TB once a year. Hospitals are terrible, so pretty much anything serious or beyond routine results in a medevac to South Africa. Lots of people seem to have many allergy-related issues here as well. - Sep 2012
Malaria is a concern; our whole family was on anti-malaria prophylaxis. Health care is poor, most people ended up going to South Africa for health care. - Sep 2009
Medical care is quite poor. That is probably the biggest concern for most people living here. Really, there is always hope that nothing bad happens. Malaria and HIV are concerns. - Jul 2009