If you are planning to live and work in Saudi Arabia, health care will definitely be one of your major concerns. Here is an overview of the Saudi health care system.
Saudi Arabia has a very developed and modern health care system which consists of public and private health infrastructures and services. Health care services for locals are free of charge. However, foreigners wishing to settle and work there are required to subscribe to a private health insurance. In fact, the private health insurance is generally included in the employment contract. These shall include any family member (wife, husband, children) accompanying you during your stay there.
In case health insurance is not provided by your employer, it probably means that the latter has a partnership with a public hospital and will give you necessary details later on regarding the types of health care provided, fees, procedures, etc.
Health care system
While foreigners benefit from private health care services after registering with a private health insurance, Saudi nationals are eligible to free health care services. Note that the country hosts some 3,200 public and private hospitals and health care centers. In fact, you are likely to find a health care center or a private clinic in almost every neighborhood. Moreover, private health care institutions usually have English-speaking staff and doctors.
Before traveling to Saudi Arabia, make sure to be vaccinated against diseases such as tuberculosis, polio, hepatitis, tetanus and typhoid.
Many medicines are sold freely in Saudi Arabia. Hence, you shall not require a prescription to buy these. However, this does not apply to all types of medicine. Note, moreover, that tranquilizers and sleeping pills are banned in the country, so avoid taking these with you. In case of extreme need, you are advised to obtain an official letter from your doctor along with the prescription. You are required to produce a translated copy of the letter and prescription to the Saudi Embassy or consulate in your home country when applying for your visa.
As regards any other treatment, no prescription renewal is allowed. Thus, you will have to consult a Saudi doctor on the spot to obtain a new prescription. In the case of banned drugs, you can obtain a full list of these with the Saudi representations in your home country.
Good to know:
You are likely to find many pharmacies in Saudi Arabia, providing many medicines. Most of these are open from 9.30 am to 1 pm and from 4.30 pm to 10.30 pm. Hospital pharmacies are open 24/7.
Find health care
It is rather easy, both for locals and foreigners, to find health care in Saudi Arabia. Dentists and private clinics are accessible almost everywhere in the country. Your health insurance may also provide you with a list of registered and recognized health practitioners.
If you wish to register as a potential patient with a hospital or clinic, you can visit the institution along with the following documents:
- your insurance card
- your Iqama
- your passport.