Rio de Janeiro

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Rio de Janeiro: Healthcare

Living in Rio de Janeiro makes for a rich cultural experience between mountains, beaches, and urban cityscapes. To get the best out of your expat experience in tropical Rio, read our guide on Rio de Janeiro for info on the locals, as well as healthcare, education, and transportation.

The Healthcare System

Expats living in Rio de Janeiro benefit from Brazil’s free universal healthcare system. Thus, they have access to medical consultations, hospital treatment, and surgery as long as they reside legally in the country. The services are offered by the public health system (Sistema Único de Saude – SUS). However, while access to free medical care is definitely an advantage of living in Rio, the system is underfunded and long waiting times are the norm at public hospitals.

This is why about 25% of the population chooses private healthcare over the SUS. Many companies offer private health plans to their employees, in order to supply them with adequate healthcare coverage. If your future employer does not offer medical plans to their employees, you should make sure to get sufficient health insurance before your move to Rio, as private healthcare services can be very expensive.

While good quality medical care may not always be readily available in Brazil’s rural areas, Rio is well-equipped with hospitals, doctor’s practices and well-trained staff.

Hospitals in Rio de Janeiro

As the second largest city in Brazil and the country’s former capital, Rio is also home to several research facilities as well as various medical centers and hospitals. Some hospitals even offer special sections for their international patients with English speaking staff. We have compiled a list of some top-notch hospitals in Rio de Janeiro:

  • Hospital Copa D’or is internationally accredited and abides by international standards. With its new equipment, well-trained medical staff, and high quality services in the field of surgery, post-operative care, and diagnostics, this hospital is quite popular among expats. Hospital Copa D’or is located on Rua Figueiredo Magalhães in Copacabana.
  • Hospital Samaritano is another one of Rio’s private, modern hospitals which offer state-of-the-art treatments and technologies. While the hospital offers all kinds of medical services, it is well-known for its reputable cardiology department with its excellent coronary unit and cardiac surgery center. You can find the Hospital Samaritano on Rua Bambina in Botafogo.
  • Hospital Sao Jose was founded by the Santa Catarina Congregation and has been providing medical care ever since 1923. Located on Rua Macedo Sobrinho in Humaitá, the large hospital offers services in all medical branches. In addition, the hospital has a big emergency department with a cardiac ward. Many expats visit this hospital for its international patient section and its English speaking staff.

Common Health Risks

If you plan on escaping the hustle and bustle of Rio de Janeiro from time to time, you should make sure to get all the necessary vaccinations beforehand. For instance, yellow fever vaccinations are strongly recommended if you travel to Brasilia or to rural areas and jungle regions. But even if you never get to leave the city of Rio, you should not forget to get a hepatitis A and B vaccination, as well as vaccinations against rabies and typhoid.

Some areas of Brazil are also malaria risk areas and you should not hesitate to take necessary precautions before travelling to these areas. The same applies to dengue fever. Make sure to contact a doctor to discuss potential health risks before your move to Rio de Janeiro.


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

Ben F. Bagley

"The offline get-together in Rio really convinced me of InterNations. It is so much more than just an online plattform. "

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