The healthcare system in Panama

Healthcare in Panama
Updated 2021-01-08 14:03

Panama has a modern and developed healthcare system in line with international standards. The government is investing heavily in the health sector in order to improve health infrastructure, as well as the quality of services. If you are moving to Panama, you will have access to healthcare services. The country has many public hospitals and private clinics with highly qualified staff, doctors and specialists.

Living in a different country means being exposed to different hazards, including diseases you have never seriously considered before, and it is all too easy to become a statistic through ignorance rather than sheer carelessness. It is therefore important to know you will be in good hands if something unexpected does happen.

Health services in public hospitals are free of charge. Those offered in private hospitals are quite reasonable compared with neighbouring countries although private clinics can be very expensive. Note that fees must be paid immediately, even in emergency cases.

Private health insurance in Panama

To benefit from optimised health coverage, foreign nationals are advised to subscribe to private international health insurance before moving to Panama.

There are many insurance companies to choose from, according to your needs and budget. Some of the leading health insurance providers are:

Consider having a look at their offers according to your needs and get a free quote on's Health Insurance for expatriates in Panama page.


Make sure to be updated with the universal vaccines before travelling to Panama. It is recommended to be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, typhoid, tetanus, polio, yellow fever. Ask your doctor about malaria precautions. Yellow fever is most prevalent in the east of the country. Check with the Panamanian authorities if you plan to go there and make sure you have the paperwork to prove you've had the vaccinations.

Health risks in Panama

Diseases such as malaria and dengue fever are present in some areas of Panama due to the warm and humid climate. These diseases are transmitted by mosquito bites.

While it is tempting to wear shorts and t-shirts in hot countries, these make you vulnerable to mosquito bites. Long trousers and sleeves provide natural protection. You should also have anti-mosquito products such as lotions and sprays, and burn mosquito coils or citronella candles to keep the immediate area clear when sitting outside, particularly in the evening.

If you have air conditioning, use it as much as possible. Mosquitoes don't like cold places; they like warm rooms and sweaty bodies.

Exposing yourself to mosquito bites can lead to illness not just for yourself but for other people to whom the mosquito moves on, so in tropical countries having immunity to certain diseases is regarded as contributing to the overall welfare of the population.

The country ' even small towns and villages - is full of small supermarkets known as minisupers, usually run by Chinese families and selling everything from groceries and hardware (tools, screws, nails etc.) to fresh meat, and while the convenience factor is welcome ' you don't have to drive to the nearest big town every time you need a few ingredients for a meal ' be aware of hygiene standards. When you are preparing food, pork and chicken should be well cooked to guard against parasites, and fruit and vegetables need to be washed carefully, because no big company will have done all the work for you.


Be aware of hygiene risks from flies and other insects. Keep food and drinks covered to avoid contamination.

Although tap water is drinkable, you may prefer to use bottled water.

Useful link:

Panama Ministry of Health

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