Facilities and equipment in Cambodia’s hospitals do not comply with international standards, therefore it is understandable that treatment for serious conditions is sought elsewhere. There are various places to seek medical attention for minor injury or illness, though these are predominantly found in cities.
Hospitals and clinics
Clinics offer mainly general medical treatment, whereas specialist departments are found in hospitals. International clinics can be found in Phnom Penh where non-serious ailments can be treated. They also offer a medical translation service and evacuation when needed. It is advisable that when taking out medical insurance you check you plan covers medical evacuation, it means that if your illness or injury is so serious that you need to be transferred elsewhere the costs will be reimbursed.
Without insurance, medical evacuation to Thailand or Vietnam by helicopter can cost up to US$15,000 and payment is expected there and then. Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam however can be reached fairly easily by land, from Phnom Penh a taxi or bus journey will take six hours, so if it is not an emergency this is arguably the easiest option.
It is also worth considering that not all of the hospitals in Cambodia will accept insurance so you may be expected to pay for treatment. The cost for medical assistance in Cambodia is however only nominal. A consultation, bed for the night, cost of medication and whatever equipment is used can cost just US$100 in Phnom Penh.
Polyclinique Aurora in Phnom Penh comes recommended if money is tight and treatment must be found in a Cambodian hospital. Royal Rattanak Hospital and Royal Angkor International Hospital are partnered with a hospital in Thailand, staffed by both Thai and Cambodian workers.
The international hospitals are more popular among foreigners and expats but they are expensive.
The fledgling health system in Cambodia is demonstrated by the fact that there is only 1 doctor for every 5,000 people in the country.
Many expats do not go to see a Cambodian doctor, opting instead to see western doctors in international clinics and hospitals. Some of these international options include International SOS Medical and Tropical & Traveller’s Medical Clinic, along with the ones mentioned above.
Contrary to the standard of medical treatment in Cambodia, excellent dentistry can be found. So much so that it is making a name for itself in the world of dental tourism. English speaking dentists can be found and many of them have trained in Europe or the U.S.
In Phnom Penh, Roomchang Dental Clinic is highly recommended for expats. Internationally trained professionals within a spotlessly clean clinic equipped with brand new technology. The draw for foreigners is that treatment costs significantly less than in the west; a consultation is free, cleaning US$20, and fillings US$25+ depending on the severity of the cavity.
Similarly Pachem clinic in Siem Reap, offers an efficient service with similarly trained, English speaking staff, and their state of the art equipment has been shipped in from Japan.
Medication & pharmacies
Prescriptions don’t exist in Cambodia, everything can be bought over the counter. Therefore, pharmacies are everywhere in Cambodian cities. However, in order to ensure what you are getting is what you asked for, avoid the independent pharmacies. They have been implicated in the worrying trade of fake medicines in the country. Pharmacy chains like U-Care and Pharmacie de la Gare in Phnom Penh are your best option, you can guarantee what you ask for will be what you get; and you may even get the option to choose between western medicines and Asian equivalents.
As with most commodities, the cost of medication is also considerably cheaper in Cambodia than in western countries. The system of over the counter drugs does however give the country a reputation for self-medicating.
For more information on accessing healthcare in Cambodia, visit Expat Health Tips: https://expathealth.tips/