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Healthcare in Nigeria

Moving to Nigeria is a big challenge for many expats. The InterNations Expat Guide offers information on the country’s paperwork-heavy immigration process, Nigerian cities, and other useful info you should be aware of before relocating to Nigeria.
The anopheles mosquito is the main cause of malaria in Nigeria.

Health Issues: Immunization

Please consult your doctor in order to get your routine vaccinations checked up and renewed, if necessary. Bear in mind that some of these need to be done up to six months in advance of your moving to Nigeria. The immunizations include:

  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Influenza
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Polio
  • Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

Other vaccinations might be advisable depending on the location and on the duration of that stay, e.g. meningitis (meningococcal disease), and rabies. Additionally, a recent yellow fever vaccination is one of the prerequisites for the STR visa and thus for your new life in Nigeria.

Health Issues: Common Diseases

Please keep in mind that malaria is quite common in Nigeria. Unfortunately, there is no immunization, although there are some anti-malarial drugs on the market. In order to avoid malaria you should wear long sleeves as well as long pants in light or pastel colors, and use insect repellants containing 30% to 50% DEET. Whenever possible, sleep under a mosquito net.

Generally, you should make sure to take necessary prescription drugs with you, as they might not be readily available in Nigerian pharmacies. Sometimes, bootleg versions of well-known drugs are offered, often without the desired effects of the original. Please abstain from using these pharmaceuticals.

Diarrhea is a problem that befalls many Westerners on their first trip to Nigeria. It is also problematic for many Nigerians, especially children. Please ensure you have an adequate supply of diarrhea medicine. Stick to bottled water or freshly brewed hot beverages and thoroughly cooked foods in order to avoid stomach trouble. Also, avoid food from street vendors or any served at room temperature, as well as unwashed or unpeeled fruit and vegetables, and ice (unless you’ve made it from bottled water).

Medical Care

The quality of Nigerian healthcare institutions is generally considered rather poor. There might also be shortages of medical supplies, and the blood supply of the country is not considered safe. Hygiene conditions are problematic, especially outside the large cities.

A major problem afflicting the healthcare system in Nigeria is the so-called “brain drain” of doctors and medical staff. It is estimated that there are four doctors for every 10,000 inhabitants. Highly-trained experts often leave the country in order to pursue their profession in countries with better infrastructure or higher wages.

Expats are not covered by the Nigerian healthcare system. Speak to your future employer about company health plans, as many corporations have medical staff available for their expats and offer special insurance policies. You can also ask about international healthcare programs that your insurance company might offer. Please make sure you are fully covered for any eventuality.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Paul Zimmerer

"InterNations is a fantastic community for expats and a must for anyone preparing to move abroad. I recommend it to all my fellow Germans overseas."

Stella Munúa

"This site is just what I was looking for when I moved to Lagos. Thanks for all the advice and support that helped us to settle in Nigeria."

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