The healthcare system is Atyrau is divided into a network of primary, secondary, and tertiary medical care facilities. The vast majority of healthcare centers in the city are owned and operated by the public sector under the organization of the Kazakhstani Ministry of Health. The public health network is adequate for minor incidents and illnesses, however the system is seriously lacking in many areas. A report by the World Health Organization found that the hospitals of the city need to address ways to reduce risk factors for common and infectious diseases. Public health policies remain a high priority for health care reforms.
Foreigners are strongly advised to take out comprehensive international medical insurance which will cover the cost of private healthcare. Primary healthcare is available for expats at the International SOS Clinic in central Atyrau. This hospital employs a large number of expat staff from countries around the world. The ISOS hospital has its own in-house pharmacy, where patients are able to purchase many different types of medicine, although a large number of western, over-the-counter medications are prohibited in Kazakhstan.
Atyrau is known as a city with a rich artistic and cultural past. There are impressive examples of historical and modern architecture situated throughout the city, as well as must see monuments and galleries. The Atyrau History Museum, which first opened in 1939, houses an incredible array of exhibits which display Kazakh culture from its ancient origins up to the modern day. The museum also has displays which focus specifically on the heritage of Atyrau itself. Directly across the street from the museum is the Atyrau Art Gallery. At this varied gallery, hundreds of historical pieces of art by Kazakh artists are exhibited alongside modern masterpieces by local, little known artists.
The many mosques of Atyrau are some of the city’s most iconic features. Historic places of worship such as Imangali Mosque and the Manjali Mosque are big enough to house hundreds of visitors and thanks to their astounding architectural beauty, are a draw for artists and photographers from far and wide.
For the most part, Atyrau is safe and trouble free. However, the most common problems are mugging and pickpocketing. Foreigners are often targeted and several members of the expat community in the city have reported these incidents. Attacks are most likely to occur at night. Places to avoid being alone after dark include outside local bars and hotels and in the stairwells of apartment blocks. Foreign nationals living in the city should always make arrangements with pre-arranged transport if travelling at night. It is also important to keep valuables such as mobile phones, jewelry and cash out of plain sight.
One issue which has been reported in Atyrau is that passenger lists on aircrafts are not kept confidential. This is important for expats to keep in mind, as there have been instances of expats being met at the airport by an unscrupulous person or a group of people.