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Expats living in Bahrain will find a solid healthcare infrastructure with options for treatment in the public and private sectors. The island supports an assortment of state-sponsored hospitals, private institutions and clinics, and speciality hospitals.
That being said, the healthcare system in Bahrain still faces challenges. The economic boom has inspired a large population influx and the state must now take steps to address the high numbers of expats that have come to set up home in the archipelago.
Furthermore, although many health workers are in fact foreigners or have been trained overseas and do speak English, there still may be a language barrier to overcome if expats find themselves in an emergency.
Public healthcare in Bahrain
Bahrain has taken steps to provide nationals with free and heavily subsidised healthcare. Expats can also access this service but tend to receive subsidised services requiring a small co-payment.
Although the country is growing rapidly, Bahrain's relatively small population means that long queues or delayed appointment times are a rarity, even in public healthcare facilities.
Private healthcare in Bahrain
Although expats have access to the public system in Bahrain, many opt to take out private medical insurance and to use private facilities instead of public ones. Expats will find that the standard of care is excellent in Bahrain – however, it's important to be aware that specialist treatment centres may be limited and it may be necessary to seek such treatment outside of the country.
Health insurance in Bahrain
Although partially covered by Bahrain's national health insurance scheme, expats can still benefit from comprehensive health insurance, including medical evacuation insurance. Many employers provide their employees with health insurance, but top-up insurance policies may be needed to ensure complete coverage.
Pharmacies and medicines in Bahrain
Pharmacies are easily found in Bahrain, some of which are open 24 hours a day.
Most medications are readily available at pharmacies. If a medicine is not available, the pharmacist should be able to order it in. Expats should be aware, however, that medications available over the counter in their home country may need a prescription in Bahrain, and vice versa.
Any prescription medicines being brought into Bahrain needs to be accompanied by a letter signed and stamped by a registered medical practitioner, stating that the medicine is for the personal use of the traveller or expat. It's also advisable to bring a copy of the original prescription.
Health hazards in Bahrain
Due to the extreme temperatures, heatstroke, sunburn and dehydration are the most common medical ailments affecting expats in Bahrain. In addition, continuous construction, accompanied by sand and dust from the island, can aggravate respiratory problems for expats, especially for those already suffering from conditions such as asthma.
Emergency services in Bahrain
The number to call in the event of a medical emergency is 998.