How to Find a Doctor in Zambia

Travelers seeking medical attention in Zambia can visit either a government or private hospital
Travelers seeking medical attention in Zambia can visit either a government or private hospital | © Andresmh / Flickr
Like many African countries, Zambia’s healthcare system can be quite difficult to navigate. At times, and in certain areas, healthcare is sub-standard due to a shortage of medical professionals and lack of funding, particularly in government-run facilities. In Zambia, particularly in Lusaka, if a traveller falls ill they have the option of visiting a government, private, or mission hospital, clinic or health centre. This guide will help you find a doctor in Zambia so that, if you fall ill, you’ll be able to relax knowing that help is available.

Government hospitals

Government-run hospitals in Zambia are cheaper than private hospitals and have more specialists who would be able to assist with life-threatening situations. Here is a list of government-run hospitals and clinics.

The University Teaching Hospital (UTH)

The University Teaching Hospital is the largest government-run hospital in Zambia. It includes various wings including a children’s wing, cancer centre, blood bank and more. It is also the primary referral hospital in the country and is open 24 hours a day.

Levy Mwanawasa General Hospital

The Levy Mwanawasa Hospital is a general hospital located off Great East Road in Lusaka. It specialises in general surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, paediatrics, eye, nose and throat and ophthalmology.

Chilenje First Level Hospital

The Chilenje Hospital was previously a clinic and was upgraded to a hospital in early 2018. Services offered include maternity services and general health services.

A teaching hospital in Lusaka, Zambia © andresmh / Flickr

Private hospitals

Lusaka Trust

The Lusaka Trust is a private, independent hospital specialising in general services. It is located in the suburb of Woodlands.

Hiltop Hospital

Hiltop hospital is a privately-run institution located on Kabulonga Road in the suburb of Ibex Hill. It is a general hospital with a maternity wing, gynaecology services and a laboratory.

CFB Hospital

CFB Hospital is a privately-funded, general hospital in the Longacres area of Lusaka specialising in urology, cardiology, paediatrics and more.

A young doctor and her patient in a hospital in Kasempa, northern Zambia © Melissa Carter / Flickr

Health care apps

Possibly due to high internet costs, there have not been many medical apps released in Zambia. However, there are a few like the Metropolitan Health Benefits app which allows members of the Metropolitan Health Service Zambia to search for a hospital affiliated to their services and to receive health-check appointment reminders. The app is available in the Google Play store and compatible on android platforms.

Another app worth checking out is the Aegis Mobile Health Services App, which offers mobile health services in the comfort of patient’s homes. Their services include mobile pharmacy, mobile clinic, physio and more. Using the app, appointments can be booked with a health assistants and nurses.

Emergency services

The general phone number for emergency medical services is 992. There is also the option of using the privately-run company, Specialty Emergency Services, which provides emergency care and evacuation as well as paramedic and ambulance services, medical cover plans and services. As a medical cover and services provider, they have advanced life-support medical personnel and a fully-equipped fleet of road and air ambulances. SES has offices in Lusaka, Livingstone and Kitwe. SES can be reached by dialling 737.

Corped Medical Care is another option for emergency care and international evacuation. They can be reached 24/7 on +260 95 328 4226.

You are likely to find long lines at government hospitals due to their affordability © Simon Berry / Flickr

Tips

English is the official language in Zambia and is spoken widely in urban areas, so communication should not be a problem. However, if you’re in a rural area and you require medical attention but are unaware of the nearest hospital, local languages like Bemba, Nyanja or Tonga could be used (depending on geographic location). The most common local term for hospital is ‘chipatala‘. It may be worth downloading the Bantu Babel languages app for translation.

While government hospitals are cost effective, you are is likely to encounter long lines to see a doctor as many are understaffed. In the case of an emergency, it would be best to visit a private hospital or clinic. It should be noted that government hospitals close for lunch between 1 and 2pm.

Carry prescriptions for required medicines. There are many pharmacies in urban towns such as Lusaka, Kitwe, Ndola and Livingstone.

Purchase health insurance before your trip to Zambia and get necessary vaccinations (such as yellow fever) before your trip. The health insurance should also include emergency air evacuation coverage, as in extreme cases patients may be flown to South Africa to receive treatment.

During the rainy season, which is between November and April, malaria is common, especially in low lying areas such as the national parks. Take anti-malaria tablets before visiting Zambia to reduce the risk. However, if you suspect that you have malaria while in the country, visit the nearest clinic or hospital for a simple malaria test.