Manila - Post Report Question and Answers

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

The air and water are polluted. In most embassy housing, they provide water for you, but unless you live on the embassy compound, I wouldn't drink it from the tap. Be careful in restaurants with ice. Upper class medical care in the Philippines is actually quite good. You may be initially surprised at how good it is, but think about how many doctors, nurses, dentists, and other health care professionals work in the United States and Europe. St. Luke's Medical Center, Makati Medical Center, and a few others in the Manila area are quite good. Specialized care may require evacuation, but they can take care of most problems locally. For major procedures, I would seek a second opinion from a doctor from your home country before moving forward. On the other hand, if you are a regular citizen, you face an entirely different health care landscape, and it's important to be aware of that. Also, traffic. If you need to rush to the hospital, it might be a long time. And you can't count on an ambulance. - Oct 2020


There is quality medical care here. ST Luke's in BGC is very nice. I know people who have had babies here and some go back to the states. I think it's your preference. I really don't know much more than that. - Feb 2020


I think that TB and dengue have a higher incidence here but I have not had personal experience with either. There is excellent and inexpensive care here. Medevac is not required for normal childbirth. Specialist doctors have walk-in clinic hours and are not are expensive. You can buy glasses/contacts without a current prescription if you know what it is. - May 2018


Watch what you eat, particularly off the expat/tourist track, as hygiene and food storage practices can vary wildly from place to place. Manila (and much of the Philippines) is at low-risk for malaria, so we don’t need prophylactics. Dengue is a problem in much of the country. We got rabies shots on top of the usual tropical vaccines, as there are lots of stray dogs running around.

Dental care is high-quality and much less expensive than in the US. Private medical facilities – particularly in Makati and the Fort – are of reasonably good quality, and many women choose to give birth here; however, Embassy personnel are usually medivaced to Singapore for more complicated medical issues. - Feb 2017


Mosquito born diseased like dengue or chicken ganya get an officer or two every year. Medical care is excellent, but unless you live in the Fort, traffic means a heart attack is likely to kill you long before you get to a hospital. There is a well-equipped medical unit on Seafront that is able to take care of most regular needs. Our family had one hospitalization at the recommended hospital. The care was excellent and inexpensive. - Jul 2016


Air quality. I, personally, wouldn't want to get any serious medical work done here. I know two people who have had common procedures with horrible outcomes. I would probably fly to Singapore for that. - Jan 2016


Generally decent medical care. Health concerns include poor air quality, frequent vehicle accidents, and mosquito-borne illnesses. - Jan 2016


Air quality in Manila is low - Sep 2015


The health care here is fine, but you will want to seek out care back home if it's something very serious. We've had check-ups, a friend had surgery, but another friend whose daughter had a cardiac issue had a more difficult time finding quality care. - Aug 2015


Dengue. Upper respiratory infections can turn worse thanks to air pollution. Medical care is really pretty good and the U.S. Embassy has a clinic for everyday needs. - Aug 2015


Mosquito borne illnesses; medical care is good, not great. - Sep 2014


The quality of medical care seems very adequate for minor checkups and I've read that there is some medical tourism here in the Philippines. I've visited a couple of doctors and have no complaints. The big difference is that the doctors here actually listen to you and try to solve any medical issues. - Jan 2014


Great medical facilities, many families choose to expand their family at this post and give birth locally. Medevac point is Singapore. - Dec 2013


Generally very good and much cheaper than the U.S. - Nov 2013


Some pollution, the water isn't considered safe to drink so you'll need to get water jugs if you live off the compound, I'm sure there are small accidents on the roads all the time. The medical care is supposed to be decent and it was suggested I have another baby while at post here [that is not happening] but I guess the experience is great here. - Aug 2013


Hospitals seem very good and cheap. For any type of surgery, though, I would suggest going to the US or Singapore. - Apr 2013


I've been severely sick as a result of foodborne bacteria three times since coming. One incident required hospitalization for two nights. My wife developed a medical disorder, and she has gotten a number of smaller illnesses. Be prepared to get sick. We've been satisfied with the health and dental facilities. Good psychiatric services, however, are not available. - Feb 2013


Good medical care isavailable from St. Lukes in BGC and Makati Med. - Sep 2012


Air quality, Dengue, Tuberculosis, are major concerns that the embassy has been making public notices about. Most people have their servants tested via chest x-ray before hiring, as TB is rampant. Medical care is great, though, and there is an excellent health unit at Seafront plus a smaller unit at the embassy. - May 2012


If you go to Makati Med or St Luke's, you'll likely get treated by a US trained doctor. The quality is very good, but people have had issues with a few things, but as third world countries go, you can come here without worrying that they won't know how to treat you. The medical staff at the embassy is also very competent, and have a lengthy list of doctors/specialist. Cost of medical care is cheap -- about P1000 ($23) for an office consultation (not including what your insurance may cover).I had a mole removed and the surgery + biopsy was my most expensive bill yet:P5,000 ($120) - Mar 2012


Yes. I had to be flown to Singapore to get a decent diagnosis. I'm also pregnant and have to go back to the States to deliver. The medical unit here trusts the OB, but does NOT trust the hospital. Others have had luck with the medical care, but we are finding it very difficult and very disappointing. Hence, we either need to medevac outside for certain issues, or use our R&R to get help back in the States. - Jan 2012


Dengue. Respiratory issues. The quality of care varies from not good to acceptable. The embassy works with the premier hospitals in the country - Makati Med and St. Luke's. They would be acceptable in the US.Acceptable dentists and primary care physicians are also available. Cost is significantly cheaper than the US. - Jul 2011


Medical care is accessible and generally very good. Very affordable (currently a cleaning at the dentist will run 800 to 1000 Pesos, same for a doctor's visit).The climate is horrible and upper respiratory infections are very common. Expect to contract stomach bugs while you're here (BYO Pepto Bismol -- it is NOT available on the local market -- if you want to use it.) - May 2011


Medical care is not bad -- but there are some things I wouldn't have done here (like anything requiring general anethesia).Some people have babies here and reports of experiences are varied. - May 2011


The water in the Philippines is generally not potable and is unsafe to drink. Sanitation is extremely poor, and it is unsafe to eat at street stalls or food courts. Local markets are generally unclean, but supermarkets are generally safe. Diahhrea is common. Take Yakult every day to save you from local bugs. Medical care is underwhelming, but Asian Hospital is very nice and Makati Med is usually ok. Cosmetic medicine is of high quality and low cost, as is general dentistry and ophtomology. - Feb 2010


Allergy, asthma and sinus problems an issue here. Embassy has nice clinic with xray machines. Makati med which is the hospital the Embassy deals with after hours is fine, but I would not have elective surgery there if I can help it. New hospital being built called St. Lukes in Fort Bonifacio is supposed to be nice. Drive farther towards Brent to Asian Hospital which is excellent. Overall good medical care, especially because we as expats get a lot of respect here and have money to pay. Not good care for general public who don't have money. Lots of people get Lasik eye surgery here and are happy.. - Jan 2010


Pollution is the biggest concern for most people. Outdoor activities are generally minimized in metro Manila due to the poor air quality. Basic medical and dental services are available and generally cheaper than in the U.S., but if you are delivering a baby or having any major procedures done, the embassy recommends you go to Singapore or the U.S. - Jul 2009


TB is a major health concern. If you have small children you MUST send your staff to a clinic to be x-rayed for TB before starting. It has gotten to the point that even the expat kids are starting to spread TB so be careful. - Apr 2009


Be careful of mosquitoes, as dengue is quite common. I know a large number of adults and children who have contracted both dengue and typhoid, so precautions are advised. Medical care is unreliable - some very good doctors work in Manila and can be found by asking other expats. - Jun 2008


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