Nicaragua Travel: Basic & ER Medical Care

Nicaraguan healthcare is not up to par with North American or European facilities. Managua is about the only place that is able to handle emergency medical cases. Many towns have clinics and essential services, but if an emergency occurs, patients must be moved to the capital. There are big hospitals in every major city in the country.

Once an emergency arises, the patient is to go to the closest facility that will receive patients. This is normally a public hospital, where conditions are terrible and treatment regimens are nearly non-existent. Private hospitals are more sanitary and offer a little better treatment, but many of them work on a cash-only foundation, and you will not be brought to one unless you can verify that you, or someone with you,can pay in cash. Credit cards are not a suitable form of compensation practically anywhere for emergency services.

Tourists traveling to Nicaragua are recommended to be current with all of the vaccinations, especially Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and rabies. Most current medicines are not yet offered in Nicaragua, thus if you are taking prescription medicine make sure you have more than enough to hold you during your stay in the country. If you visit the east coast, make sure to take an anti-malaria medicine both before and after your trip to prevent getting the illness.

Finally, don't assume your medical insurance plan will cover you in a foreign country ; most will not. Check with your agent before you depart, and validate that your policy applies while you are beyond the borders of the US. Also make sure it will cover emergency medical procedures, transportation, and evacuation. If not, acquire a supplemental policy before you depart.

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