Subscribe to SmallPlanet

Adapting for Special Needs Overseas - Call for Essays

Five stars on Amazon! Don't miss Talesmag's first book of essays, on cross-cultural food experiences from Mexico to Mongolia (plus recipes!)
Submit a Real Post Report

New Delhi



Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Many. India is dirty and polluted. "Delhi belly" is very common: we all have it at least once a month. Sinus infections and asthma are also very common due to the high pollution. Dengue, malaria, chikungunya and Zika are also common for New Delhi. The medical unit is very busy with medical evacuations as local doctors and hospitals are not deemed adequate. - Oct 22, 2017
Mosquito-borne illnesses are probably the biggest issue-especially dengue, though others exist too. Malaria isn't in the city. Wearing long sleeves and pants and using DEET helps. Medication is cheap and often doesn't need a prescription.

We did not use local medical care, except I got an ultrasound locally twice when pregnant. Otherwise, our care was through the Embassy Health Unit. They could handle all regular illnesses and care. Staff depended on which EFMs were there--we had a pediatrician half the time we were there because she was the wife of a worker. Otherwise, our kid saw a nurse practitioner.

Medical evacuation for Embassy personnel is to Singapore. Dengue complications were probably the most common reason. - Mar 15, 2017


Other than air quality, biggest concerns are dengue and other infectious tropical diseases. No malaria in Delhi itself, but that is a concern if you travel south. Onsite embassy Health Unit was a lifesaver. Oh, and you will get Delhi Belly on a regular basis. Hospitals are iffy - there are modern ones, but I would be very concerned about anti-infection practices. Most medical issues out of the health unit's purview will mean a medical evacuation to Singapore. - Feb 14, 2017
WOW. This is the reason I logged in. I've never given my input on here, but I've enjoyed the input I've read from others. Anyhow, the environmental hazards here are real and abundant. Available medical care is dicey. Medical evacuation can be required for a myriad of otherwise routine issues (broken bones, infections, illnesses). You can't rely on the blood supply here to be clean for a transfusion. Delhi belly is real, and food safety is a huge issue in a country where 600 million people defecate openly and the food is grown in these conditions. Food borne illnesses galore. We bleach all our produce. Dengue can be endemic, as well as chikungunya. We spray during the season two to three times a day, and if I see a mosquito, it's an all out war until I can kill it. And the air... - Nov 8, 2016
Medical care is spotty.. Most embassies medevac their employees for critical care, usually to Singapore. Air pollution is the number-one health concern. Children often develop chronic breathing problems or get asthma in India. Respiratory infections are common. Also common are dysentery and GI-tract problems, Giardia, Salmonella, and E-coliform poisoning. Malaria and dengue fever are common for more than half the year. Everyone is recommended to wear mosquito repellent from June to January. - Jun 2, 2016
"Delhi Belly" and respiratory problems are the main concerns. As mentioned earlier, the air pollution has become the number one health problem here, and also brings down morale. No serious solutions have been offered yet, but the matter is being given consideration. - Sep 6, 2014
At the U.S. Embassy there is a medical unit and they have been great. Watch out for dengue (mosquito born illness) and malaria. "Delhi Belly" is common - I've had it twice but I wasn't careful enough about washing down and soaking fruits before eating them. And you can't drink the water from the tap but filtered water is not hard to find. - Sep 3, 2014
Air quality is bad. Dengue fever happens. Otherwise, it's fine. If you are USG, the health unit is good. - Aug 14, 2013
Respiratory and GI issues abound. Dengue is real, as are random outbreaks of things like scarlet fever. The Max hospitals are recommended by most western embassies, but medical care can be rough on women. Medical practiioners can be brutal while shoving needles into your arm, and won't talk to a female patient about her allergies etc. Standard medical banter: "Excuse me, what are you putting into my arms?" Curt response from medical tech with no name tag: "Medicine." If you have a medical emergency, please take a trusted companion with you. Doctors and teachers are treated like gods here; their authority is final. But there is no malpractice risk here, and mistakes often abound. If you are pregnant, medevac! There are way too many miscarriages and hushed-up birth defects. - May 18, 2013
Smog and burn related air pollution. The water is not safe to drink, and blood-borne illnesses are common. - Oct 21, 2012
Dengue fever and TB are bad. Medical care is available when needed. MAX hospital is one of the better hospitals. It's good to have a doctor before arriving. - Sep 16, 2012
Get referrals! - Aug 12, 2011
everything, including scarlet fever and polio, exists and thrives here. minor asthma can become a large concern here due to air quality. medevacs to singapore are common for serious illnesses. - Aug 7, 2011
Terrible GI issues, even elite hospitals have a terrible attitude toward female patients, no bedside manner. - Aug 4, 2011
Good medical care is available and affordable, although the appearance of the facilities can be off-putting. The air quality is the only concern for most people. - Jan 8, 2011
Don't count on ER services -- you gotta figure it out for your self. Medical care can vary widely. World class surgeons and miserable "fake" labs. Private hospitals vary within -- nursing services are abysmal, even thefts of personal items while in the hospital. But some doctors are highly trained and very good - especially for the cost. What is not available is any kind of mental health care including basic counseling. - Sep 18, 2010
Many. There is a dengue paranoia right now. Private hospitals are reliable. - Aug 30, 2010
Lots of health concerns--mainly skin and gastrointestinal issues. - Aug 12, 2010
Being with the government, we get to use certain doctors. All fruits and vegetables need to be soaked in bleach before eating or cooking. You need to use distilled water for washing your mouth. You need to drink only bottled water. - Aug 1, 2010
Being with the government we get to use certain doctors. But other people tell me there are very good doctors here and some of the hospitals are excellent. - Mar 11, 2008
If you have an existing condition such as asthma, Delhi's probably not going to be fun for you. - Feb 4, 2008