The healthcare system in Jordan has been widely praised, and expats accustomed to receiving a high standard of medical care back home are sure to be equally impressed with the expertise of Jordanian doctors.
The cost of treatment is considerably lower than what many expats may be used to – it is estimated that having a procedure done in Jordan costs on average about 10 to 30 percent less than the same procedure would cost in the US. This has made the country a popular destination for medical tourism; currently, it is one of the most highly praised medical tourism destinations in the Middle East and North Africa.
It should be noted, however, that although excellent facilities are available in Jordan, they are mainly located in its capital city, Amman.
Doctors are usually able to speak English well and many Jordanian doctors have studied in the West.
Public healthcare in Jordan
Public hospitals in Jordan usually have up-to-date technology at their disposal and are serviced by knowledgeable doctors. However, like many other public healthcare systems around the world, the Jordanian public sector faces its share of problems. In the past, the chief complaint among those using the service has been long waiting times, but lately, this issue has begun to escalate.
The recent influx of Syrian refugees into the country has put a huge strain on Jordan's public healthcare system, resulting in overcrowding and overuse of resources. It has been reported that Jordanians awaiting elective surgery have been turned away so that the hospitals can treat the war injuries and other urgent medical conditions of refugees. In an effort to remedy the situation, the Jordanian government has put out an international appeal for funding.
Private healthcare in Jordan
While the public sector usually offers medical treatment equal to the quality of treatment offered in the private sector, many expats prefer to utilise private healthcare facilities. Expats often find that some public hospitals can be a bit sparse in terms of comfort and privacy, so those who can afford it usually feel that private facilities are more of a pleasant experience. In addition, waiting periods tend to be shorter in private hospitals.
Pharmacies in Jordan
There are many pharmacies throughout Jordan, some of which are open after hours. Pharmacists should be able to dispense basic medical advice, but not all will speak English. Many medications are available over the counter but expats may be surprised to find that some medicines are restricted – for example, anything containing codeine can only be purchased using a prescription.
Health insurance in Jordan
Public healthcare in Jordan is funded by the government and mandatory contributions from the country's workforce. A monthly deduction is taken from the salaries of all employees in Jordan. These employees are then granted access to social security, which entitles them to free or subsidised healthcare.
Although treatment in the private sector is still a fraction of the cost of the same treatment in other countries, most expats nevertheless take out health insurance to cover the costs incurred. Expats under an international insurance policy should ensure that their cover is comprehensive, and if living outside of Amman, it is recommended that expats choose a policy which includes emergency transport to Amman.
In the case of an emergency, treatment in Jordan is free of charge as long as the patient doesn't require hospitalisation. This applies to Jordanians as well as foreign nationals. Private health insurance is nevertheless recommended in case hospitalisation is required.
Health hazards in Jordan
Temperatures in Jordan can soar in summer, so expats should be sure to drink plenty of water and apply sunblock to avoid dehydration, heat exhaustion and sunburn.
The region has been considered malaria free for over a decade and has a relatively low incidence of tuberculosis and HIV. Nevertheless, appropriate precautions should be taken at all times.
Emergency services in Jordan
The response time of ambulances in Jordan is close to the global average of around seven minutes. Expats can dial the general emergency number (911) or ambulance and fire emergency number (199) for medical assistance