There is both public and private healthcare in Peru, but expats usually prefer to make use of private healthcare, as public facilities are notoriously inadequate.
While the healthcare is generally good in Peruvian cities, few decent facilities are available in more rural areas.
Public healthcare in Peru
Public healthcare in Peru is generally poor and insufficient, largely due to a serious lack of funding. Public hospitals are subject to long waiting times, and those with minor health concerns often have to wait months for an appointment.
Basic healthcare is seriously lacking in rural areas, with small under-resourced clinics providing very basic services. It’s unlikely that staff in these facilities will be able to speak English, and any serious medical emergencies may require evacuation to a city with better facilities.
Private healthcare in Peru
Private healthcare facilities are available in Peru, particularly in Lima and Cusco. Private health facilities are generally better staffed and equipped than public facilities and are the preferred option for expats living in Peru. It’s important for expats to ensure that they have some form of private health insurance. If moving to Peru as part of a corporate relocation package, this should be considered when negotiating a contract.
Private healthcare in Peru is generally quite affordable, but doctors will often expect cash payment upfront, regardless of a patient’s medical aid. So when visiting a doctor, it’s important to confirm this ahead of time.
Hospitals in Lima
Clinica Anglo Americana
Tel: 511 616 8989
Clinica San Borja
Tel: 511 475 3141
Clinica el Golf
Tel: 511 264 3300
Pharmacies in Peru
Pharmacies are plentiful in Peruvian cities and many are open 24/7. Some of the larger supermarkets, such as Santa Isabel, also have pharmacies, and staff in the larger cities are often able to speak English. Most medications are easily available over the counter.
Health insurance in Peru
Public health insurance is available to Peruvian nationals through two systems, Segura Integral de Salud (SIS) and EsSalud. SIS is administered by the Peruvian Ministry of Health and is largely aimed towards those who are poverty-stricken and have no health coverage, while EsSalud is aimed at the working population and their families, providing healthcare within a specific network of EsSalud medical facilities.
A number of companies offer private health insurance to expats in Peru. However, many expats also have an international health insurance policy.
Health concerns in Peru
Altitude sickness is common for visitors to Peru and it’s best to take the necessary precautions. Symptoms include headache, nausea, lethargy and dizziness, and if experiencing any of these, expats should visit a healthcare professional.
There is some risk of malaria in rural areas of Peru, particularly in the jungle areas east of the Andes Mountains. Expats visiting these areas should ensure that they take the advised precautions.
Pre-travel vaccinations for Peru
The following vaccinations are recommended for Peru:
Expats should ensure that all their routine vaccinations are up to date. Please note that the above list is merely a guide, and expats should contact a healthcare professional before travelling to the country to confirm all required vaccinations for Peru.
Emergency services in Peru
Emergency services are seriously lacking in rural areas, but are available in the larger cities. For an ambulance expats can dial 117.