Medicine and healthcare system in Palau: local nuances, medical care for tourists



Medicine and healthcare system in Palau: local nuances, medical care for tourists

The tiny island nation of Palau boasts a universal health care system, rather qualitative medical care, and considerable potential for supportive therapy for such “lifestyle nuances” as diabetes and obesity. However, when it comes to tourists, everything is not as simple as it might seem.

A bit of geography

Special features of medical care in Palau derive from geographical nuances. Therefore, guests of the country should know that:

Palau includes 340 islands, only 12 of which are inhabited. The country consists of 16 states.

The most developed state is Koror, located on the homonymous island. About 70% of the population lives here. Also, this spot has the country's only state hospital (Belau National Hospital) and two private clinics.

In addition to hospitals, medical services are provided by 8 Community Health Centers (CHCs).

The largest island is Babeldaob, on which 10 states of Palau are located. It houses the North CHC in the city of Ngarchelong (Ngarchelong State), the East CHC in Melekeok city (Melekeok State), and the West CHC — in Ngaremlengui (Ngaremlengui State).

There are also CHCs on Koror and the territory of the so-called "outer" islands — Peleliu, Kayangel, and Angaur.

Medicine in Palau

The small island state quietly lives its life. Therefore, the peculiarities of medicine in Palau can be described in a few concise theses:

The islands have a national health insurance system that covers inpatient and outpatient services.

Due to a well-developed medical and insurance system, Palau has succeeded in implementing item 3 of the global list of Sustainable Development Goals: ensuring healthy life and well-being for all age groups.

International observers consider the so-called "Big Five”, - cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, as well as mental health disorders - the main goal of Palau medicine.

This view is supported by researchers from the Pacific Academic Research Institute and the Palau Ministry of Health. They found that seven out of ten islanders use local plants for quite the successful treatment of diabetes and obesity. Due to the opinion of scientists, this discovery shows the high potential of local traditional medicine in solving problems that cannot be dealt with in the "big world".

Local nuances

Due to its remoteness and relatively low popularity among tourists, the state was not affected by COVID-19. However, Palau's health service uses all possible means to prevent the "import" and spread of the virus. The import of other infectious diseases is no less strict here too. Therefore, to enter Palau, it is better to have a certificate that confirms excellent health and the absence of serious medical conditions.

Medical service for tourists

Since Palau has a direct connection with the United States, medical care here is of substantial quality. And the prices are quite appropriate. But as of 2013, on the territory of the state, only 26 doctors worked.

Thus foreigners are reluctantly treated here. It also shows in the travel advisories which clearly state that medical insurance for visits to Palau should cover evacuation from the islands by air. Also, tourists are often referred to clinics in the neighboring Philippines, Taiwan, or Hawaii. These referrals have priority out there, so patients are served quite promptly. If you need quality travel health insurance, you can contact our agents.