Healthcare in Bahrain

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Updated 2020-07-28 09:51

Bahrain has world-class medical facilities, health professionals, and easy access to medical treatments. Public and private health care systems are available.

Bahrain has 24 large medical facilities across its territory. When you first arrive, it is advisable that you and your family register with your closest local medical centre. However, treatment can be obtained without registration on production of your insurance certificate. Often, expats will choose a facility based on the recommendation of others, rather than the closest facility.

The public health care system in Bahrain

Public healthcare in Bahrain is of a high standard, offering highly trained medical professionals and medical facilities that are top-notch. All Bahraini citizens receive free, or heavily subsidised, medical care. The service is broken down into primary, secondary, and tertiary care.

Expats can still receive treatment at a public clinic or hospital; however, they will have to pay out of pocket for the cost if they do not have private health coverage. The current fee for a consultation at a public facility is BHD7. Emergency medical treatment is also chargeable.

The private healthcare system in Bahrain

Since January 2019, it has been compulsory for employers to provide private health insurance for foreign workers. The compulsory insurance requires a contribution from expats for their medical costs in 16 of 19 set categories (excluding primary and limited secondary healthcare and emergencies) since only partial health cover is paid for by their employers under this scheme.

Many employers provide health insurance that covers all medical costs up to an annual cap, which varies by scheme. Before accepting a position in Bahrain, you should check what cover is provided and consider topping up with your own insurance to meet the additional costs for treatment not eligible under your employer's scheme.

Private coverage allows you and your family access to primary and secondary care, specialist services and treatments, and hospital and emergency care. Dental care may or may be included, depending on your plan. Private health insurance generally offers shorter waiting times, greater access to private facilities, and coverage for medication costs.

Unless you have a worldwide policy, private health cover from your home country is unlikely to be recognised or accepted in Bahrain, so it is important to obtain a policy for Bahrain before relocating, or as soon as you arrive, and to ensure all dependants and family members are covered.

Some facilities will offer direct billing to the health insurance company, others require the treatment to be paid for, and you must claim the amount back from the insurer. This varies by facility and insurance provider. 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 Expat.com's Health Insurance for expatriates in Bahrain page.

Medication in Bahrain

Pharmacies are widely available in Bahrain, even in less populated regions. Pharmaceutical medications are tightly controlled in the Kingdom, and some over the counter medications from home may require a prescription in Bahrain. Conversely, some drugs only available by prescription in your own country may be available over the counter in Bahrain.

When bringing prescription medications into the country with you, it is important to obtain a signed letter from your doctor, stating that you require the medications.

Health considerations in Bahrain 

Bahrain is a hot country with temperatures of up to 50°C (122°F). Sun related illnesses such as sunstroke, sunburn, or heat exhaustion are a risk. Talk to your doctor before relocating if you are concerned about heat-related health problems.

When in Bahrain, expats should wear sunscreen, protective clothing and hats, and seek shade whenever possible, especially children and the elderly.

Owing to the nature of the island, airborne dust and sand can be widespread at certain times of the year. This may cause breathing difficulties for those with respiratory problems.

On calm days, which are not too frequent, emissions from the 719000 registered vehicles in Bahrain, may reduce the air quality.

Other information

  • Some hospitals and clinics offer GP services, although it is possible to see a specialist without consulting a GP first.
  • Currently, there is no centralised medical record system. Details of treatment in one facility will not be available to medical staff in another. This can lead to relative contraindications for medications being prescribed. Always ask your doctor about the medication if you are already receiving treatment for another ailment and check for yourself if still unsure.
  • The emergency services telephone number in Bahrain is 999. Some hospitals operate their own ambulance services. However, in June 2019, a national ambulance service came into being, equipped with the latest technology and fully trained paramedics. It is anticipated that all 13 ambulance centres will be fully operational by the end of 2019.
  • No special vaccines are required before travelling to Bahrain, but make sure you are up to date on all standard immunisations, such as measles, mumps, and rubella. A valid tetanus shot is also recommended.

 Useful links:

American Mission Hospital
Awali Hospital
Bahrain Defence Force Hospital
Bahrain Medical Centre
Bahrain Specialist Hospital
King Hamad University Hospital
Bahrain Government Health Information
Bahrain Pharmacy
BUPA Global
Everyday Health (medication information)
Healthcare International

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.