The magical country of Peru has much going for it. From stunning colonial cities to rich tracts of virgin rainforest, Peru has something for any form of traveller. Famously the former home of the Incas and Mayans, Peru also boasts a wealth of world-famous historical sites including the World Heritage site of Machu Picchu.
No wonder that tourism is the third largest industry in Peru, employing over 10% of the workforce and attracting over 3 million foreign visitors each year.
Sadly Peru’s healthcare system isn’t quite as impressive as their tourism record. While the hospitals are generally considered high quality, medical care is expensive. Visitors to doctors or hospitals are normally expected to pay full price for medicines and some ancillary services. Bearing in mind that the average salary in Peru is under $400 a month it’s no surprise that many Peruvians can’t afford to pay for medical care, no matter how good the quality of care on offer really is.
This is creating something of a ‘dual system’ whereby those with money can expect high levels of care either in the public hospitals or in the growing number of private clinics. Very few hospitals can be found outside Lima so private medical centres, catering to rich businessmen and foreign travellers, are picking up much of the slack. They generally offer Western-quality medical facilities – for a cost.
This is one reason why the majority of expats moving to Peru opt to sign up for private healthcare insurance. In this way they can be certain of being able to cover the costs of any treatment necessary. Expats with insurance like this should therefore consider themselves very well catered for in Peru as cost is the only controlling factor here while the quality of care is considered excellent.
For the same reasons, tourists are advised to also invest in a comprehensive insurance policy to ensure that the price of medical care will not interfere with your medical care should you need it while you’re away.
On the flip side of this equation, the average citizen may struggle to receive even basic healthcare due to the inherent costs involved. Many, particularly in rural areas, may rely rather more on folk remedies than modern medicine to cure their ailments.
However a move by the Peruvian government is seeking to change that and offer free medical insurance to infants and their mothers. In this way the government can be sure of providing the next generation with the very best start in life and ensure that they are receiving top-notch medical care.
The policy comes into effect in December and will offer free healthcare to Peruvians aged under 5 years. Their mother’s will also receive eight weeks of free care courtesy of the government. It is expected that these changes will have a significantly positive impact on infant health and lead to not only a healthier population but also an increase in the fecundity rate of the country.