Nairobi - 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?

Medical care in Nairobi is pretty good. It's important to find good doctors, and the med unit's recommendations on local doctors have been very good so far. That said, Kenya is a developing country and viruses just seem to be more aggressive here. We have gotten sick a lot since living here, especially with school-age kids passing everything around. I've known many to have minor surgeries and even give birth here, and the Aga Kahn hospital is overall very good. Medical care is also so much cheaper here that I tend to prefer it whenever it is safe rather than going back to the States and spending 20x as much. I only use the med unit for very minor things. While some people have had good experiences there, I have heard that many have bad stories and refuse to go. Some of the employees are great, so I don't mean to throw good people under the bus. Overall, we've heard from many that this is not typical and comparatively poor. - Mar 2024

They say there isn’t malaria in Nairobi so we don’t typically take anti-malarials unless you go elsewhere in country. The elevation (over 5,000 feet) can take some adjusting and I’d suggest getting rehydration salts or using bottled water, instead of using water from the Embassy-provided distillers for drinking, as that water never seems to hydrate. Separately, food borne illnesses are common (salmonella, e. Coli, etc) and they can happen even at nice restaurants. Medical care is okay. You can get a consult and tests of all varieties done pretty cheaply at MP Shah or Aga Khan, but you have to wait for a long time to be seen and usually have to follow up more than once to get your results. Plan to be at the hospital for 4-6 hours on average. - Aug 2023

Lots of medical resources: some have had babies in Nairobi. - Mar 2022

Malaria when you upcountry or to the coast. You can get good care. Aga Khan, MP Shah, and Columbia Clinic are all great. - Aug 2021

I used the locally available medical system my entire 6 years and I think it's quite good. And certainly it is more accessible (if you have some resources) than equivalent services in the US - there is very little wait time most of the time. I mostly went to Aga Khan hospital for doctor appointments and minor issues. A doctor appointment is usually around $40. - Apr 2021

Medical care if decent for the day to day. Dental care is good. - Nov 2020

Overall good medical care in Nairobi. - Dec 2018

Because Nairobi is on top of a mountain, malaria-carrying mosquitoes don't live here. Other mosquitoes do call Nairobi home, and they are out and about most of the year. Food safety is a health concern. I got a wicked parasite my first month here. I lost 30 pounds, so I'm not complaining.

Nairobi sits at 6,000 feet above sea level. It's one of the highest cities in the world, so be prepared to take it easy when you arrive, as it can take some time to adjust.

General healthcare is surprisingly good. The Health Unit at the U.S. Embassy is hit-or-miss, but mostly hit. My wife became pregnant here and she has had a really positive experience with our local OBGYN, Dr. Patel. Highly recommended. You'll want to medevac for the big stuff, but for most day-to-day medical needs, you should a-ok on the local market. - Dec 2018

We have not had any here. Due to the high altitude you are not at risk of malaria in Nairobi. - Jun 2018

Malaria is a concern in country, though not locally. Nairobi mosquitoes don't carry the disease; I believe it has to do with the high altitude. Yellow fever and rabies are the most recommended vaccinations.

Health care quality is decent, especially for expats. Maybe the most advanced equipment isn't available, but knowledge is solid. Fair warning: hospitals want to see cash up front before admittance, regardless of the situation.

Diplomats are medically evacuated for childbirth and surgeries. - Jul 2016

Health facilities are OK but expensive and sometimes outdated - Sep 2015

Some bleach produce, some wash in distilled water only. Malaria if you leave Nairobi or not on Mt. Kenya is a risk. Tap water is not safe to drink. - Aug 2015

Embassy health unit is great and accessible. Some good hospitals with specialists in all areas. There has been NO ebola in Kenya. In fact, because of the epidemic in W. Africa the big hospitals have equipped special wards just in case, and have trained their personnel accordingly. - Jul 2015

No - May 2015

No health concerns; Nairobi is at high elevation so malaria is not an issue. Good hospitals and health care. I gave birth here and have been happy with my GYN, pediatrician, dentist, dermatologist etc. - Dec 2014

Not really. Decent care available. - Jun 2014

No malaria, amoebas are common, it's not bad though. They medivac to South Africa. - Jun 2014

Medical care is decent, but not great. Some women have had babies here and said that the care was good. - Mar 2014

The Med Unit is there for day-to-day issues and well-baby visits and I think they do a good job. Gertrude's Children's Hospital is good. Pharmacies are well stocked and don't require prescriptions. - Jul 2013

Malaria and dengue if you are visiting the coast. Nothing too bad in Nairobi -- other than some parasites and tummy stuff. - Jun 2013

Surprisingly good. For after-hours emergencies, we've gone to the Nairobi Hospital and it was very nice and modern and clean. - Dec 2012

Reasonably basic, and emergency care is available. For major health issues you should have a great doctor recommendation or go out of country. - Aug 2012

I have to disagree with the previous poster - I have found the Embassy health unit to be a poorly managed mess with excellent cargeivers once you get through the doors, but getting an appointment seems to be a definite challenge. Basic and diagnostic care can be done here, but I wouldn't go farther than that. I've had two incorrect lab tests ordered for me by local doctors. - Dec 2011

The med unit in the embassy is AMAZING. There are many specialists available here for diagnostic purposes, especially through Aga Khan Hospital. We’ve used the services of a local ultrasound doctor (excellent), gastroenterologist (including exploratory surgery), x-ray tech, blood labs, and an urgent care walk-in clinic. All have been either good or quite acceptable. I personally would draw the line at any procedures that required anesthesia (although the exploratory surgery we had was fine with that.) Nairobi is a medical evacuation point for many NGOs throughout Africa.

I have been VERY disappointed in the options available for dental and orthodontic care. I had thought these would be more easily available and of a quality with which I was comfortable for myself and my family. There is a chiropractor, but the office is hot and crowded and if you need regular chiropractic care, this isn’t a good option. However, there are great massage therapists who will come to your home for either relaxation or therapeutic massages for US$10-20 a visit. If you get regular massages, this is a great place. Bring a massage table for even better treatment!

Many people find Nairobi a great place to be stationed when expanding a family. The med unit currently does all prenatal care and does a great job. The ultrasound doctor locally is fabulous and both has modern equipment and knows how to use it. Most people use maternity evacuation when the baby is due, though some are happy to deliver locally. The med unit recommends medevac due to the limited options for neonatal care. If I stayed here to have a baby, I’d probably go to Kijabe Hospital in the Rift Valley about an hour away -- they have several US missionary doctors on staff, what I think is the best neonatal unit in the country, and good supervision for the prevention of stupid medical mistakes. Stupid medical mistakes are what I’m most concerned about with the medical care in Kenya.

More generally, if you have allergies, there are a lot of plants that bloom here and you may find yourself irritated by that. Bring zyrtec, dayquil or whatever helps you if you are prone to allergies. Nairobi is at a very high altitude and on the equator. Even though the weather is mild, sunscreen should be used every day. It's good to bring your own, as it is quite expensive here. - Dec 2011

Medical care is pretty good. I would feel comfortable with, say, getting a bone set here, dental care, or emergency care. - Dec 2010

Thankfully none. Dental work gets raves from most expats for its high quality and relatively lower prices as compared to US dental work. - Dec 2009

Great at the embassy. When you need Rx meds, you can often get them over the counter at the local pharmacy, for low price. If you get into a wreck out in the country, say your prayers. I've only seen one ambulance in a year of living here, in Nairobi. - Jul 2009

Better than in most parts of the third world. Aga Khan has sponsored many hospitals and most services are here. Do get Medivac insurance incase you're in the bush etc. Cost about US$100 bucks for a year. There are many service providers based at Wilson Airport in Nairobi. - Jun 2008

Nairobi is pretty healthy in general but going outside exposes you to many nasties (Malaria, etc.). - Feb 2008

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