You should seek medical advice about the current travel medical information about Benin before you leave. You must be vaccinated against yellow fever to enter Benin. Discuss other possible vaccinations with a tropical medicine specialist. It is recommended to take malaria prophylaxis for shorter stays. In Cotonou you can have a malaria test (goutte épaisse) in the clinics (Clinique Mahouna, Clinique Cocotier), get a result after only two hours and can act accordingly. The local medicines are good and work quickly.
According to mathgeneral, there are some health risks in Benin. Even if the tap water of the waterworks is of potable quality, it is important to be careful. If a pipe breaks, contaminated water can penetrate the system and thus pathogens that transmit diseases. You should also be careful when eating uncooked food: “Cook it, peel it or forget it” is a risk avoidance strategy that can save you uncomfortable tenants in your gastrointestinal tract. Of course, this cannot always be implemented, for example with invitations or in a restaurant. Orientate yourself to colleagues or acquaintances who have lived in the country for a long time. The local doctors are very familiar with the local risks and diseases. The first of Coronavirus COVID-19 infected person (from Burkina Faso) in Benin was identified in Cotonou on March 16, 2020.
The Benin Ministry of Health provides a wide range of information such as yearbooks, statistics, strategy papers, further addresses and links on its website. At the end of 2015, parliament approved a new law on general health insurance. The government wants to be able to deploy qualified personnel in the healthcare sector by 2019.
The World Health Organization of the UN, the WHO, published various figures and statistics in Benin’s health profile. USAID and WHO provide overviews of the Benin health sector. The country-specific website of is available to you on the health situation of children in BeninUNICEF available.
In February 2016, the government adopted a national plan for communication in the fight against AIDS. Under the government of President Patrice Talon there have been many new reforms, including the health system. These reforms were seen, criticized and largely blocked by the trade unions as privatization measures. China financed a modern hospital in Parakou. Despite modern equipment, the hospital is working under its capacity.
In rural areas there are deficiencies, such as access to clean drinking water or the lack of sanitary facilities such as latrines, Cause of many diseases. Unfortunately, people suffering from mental illness are also often left alone and wandering the streets.
Traditional medicine and healing processes play a major role in Benin. In rural areas in particular, doctors or hospitals are often not available at all, or simply too expensive, or patients are faced with communication difficulties (different dialects / mother tongue between the patient and the doctor).
There is a wide range of alternative healing practices available from local biomedicine to various forms of spiritual or religious healing methods. Often the causes of illness or death are not attributed to a pathogen, but to a sorcerer who, for example, was called in because of the jealousy of a neighbor. You can find out how the various traditional and modern therapy facilities and procedures compete with each other in the doctoral thesis by the ethnologist Thamar Klein. People in Benin attend different therapy facilities, depending on which procedure seems to promise the most success for the particular case of illness. For malaria diseases, for example, drugs based on the Artemisia plant are administered.
In the last ten years or so, more and more Chinese medicines and traditional Chinese healing methods have come onto the market and enrich the range. The government now wants to encourage the establishment of private health centers.
Drugs that have long expired or have simply been counterfeited are a major problem. In the markets, these drugs are sold individually without packaging or package insert. In the years from 2011 to the present day, over 1,000 tons of illegal pharmaceutical products have been confiscated and destroyed. In November 2018 it became five managing directors Sentenced to four years in prison by drug distribution companies for complicity in illegal pharmacy practices.