Health and Medical
Even with any prescribed immunisation and vaccinations, you should always take precaution against insects. Species like mosquitos and tsetse flies are well known to carry certain illnesses and are especially prevalent during and just after the rainy season, as well as in the low-lying areas which happen to be the most popular for wildlife. You should use insect repellent throughout the day and try to cover up any bare skin as soon as the sun goes down – as this is prime-bite-time.
When it comes to food and drink, avoid ordering drinks with ice; be careful of vegetables or fruits grown on the ground (such as lettuce or strawberries), as well as those served raw; avoid mayonnaise or other egg-based sauces, and food from street vendors; and always peel fruit before you eat it.
Tap water in the major towns is purified and perfectly safe to drink. In the more remote areas always boil it first, except if you’re staying at a lodge or hotel where drinking water is boiled already. Bottled water is readily available in the bigger towns.
Countries may change their vaccination requirements without notice and in some instances border agents use their discretion to deny entry despite the officially stated requirements.
These requirements can also change from time to time according to recent epidemics or outbreaks, so check up before you head out.
A yellow fever certificate is not mandatory when entering Zambia, unless arriving from a country that is considered ‘at risk’. However, on your departure you will definitely need a yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter your next port-of-call as Zambia is considered a yellow fever risk area.
The vaccination needs to be done within a certain window period before travel – so you would need to ensure you are vaccinated no less than 10 days before entering the yellow fever risk area.
As of July 2016 – the World Health Organization announced that new yellow fever vaccination certificates are now valid for life. Countries can no longer require travellers to show proof of re-vaccination or a booster dose as a condition of entry. Travellers should note that this new regulation may not be honoured by all border authorities during the transition phase.
Hepatitis A and Typhoid are both highly recommended by international organisation such as the CDC, WHO and IAMAT.
Other recommended vaccinations include:
Prescribed medication for personal use is allowed into the country provided you comply with these rules:
- Have the medication in its original packaging
- The medication must be labelled with your name and dosage
- Have a copy of the original prescription
- Have only sufficient medication for the duration of your visit
However, be careful as some drugs are banned in the country due to certain ingredients – even those found in some over the counter medicines. This information you will have to obtain via a Zambian embassy or consulate.
Medical services are underdeveloped and only in Lusaka, Ndola and Livingstone can you find anything resembling western standards. There are a number of small clinics in Lusaka which are better than the general hospitals, but the clinics in the rural areas usually only have the basics.
Medical insurance should be purchased before you leave your own country and should include emergency air evacuation coverage if you’re spending any time in remote parts of the country. There are two medical rescue organisations.