home page | forum »

Cape Verde Health, Medical, Doctors

Cape Verde Health requirements, innoculations

The Cape Verde islands are free from from most of the tropical diseases which plague Africa and South America. They are virtually free from malaria, except in one or two months a year around Praia. There are no reports of yellow fever or dengue fever and the WHO has cleared it officially . Cholera has occurred but only in Santiago, several years ago. There are a few semi-wild, hungry and thirsty dogs and cats in towns. These are generally harmless and friendly but you should always be careful of strange dogs, in the tropics. The Camara (town hall) poisons stray dogs, so do not touch meat left lying on the ground. If you have the misfortune to be bitten consult a doctor without delay. There have been no reports of rabies but please check yourself with the WHO for up-to-date information.

Innoculations for Cape Verde

There are no specific innoculations required for travel to the Cape Verdes, except for those travelling from West African countries with endemic yellow fever. It should not be necessary to take anti-malaria pills. But enquire further if travelling to Praia in late summer. In other places and at other times, it is usually too windy and arid for mosquitoes to thrive. The UK Foreign Office advises passengers to have innoculations against typhoid and hepatitis A. We have not heard of typhoid in Sal. It is contracted by eating food contaminated by faeces, so eat in good restaurants.

Hepatitis exists as it does in the UK and USA. It is contracted from contaminated needles. So choose your doctor carefully if you need an injection. The UKFO helpline does not reply in any reasonable time. Nor does the DoH. So for more health advice consult your own doctor. Or check on the Scottish Medical website which is much better than London ones.

Reports of dysentery outbreaks at Hotel Riu in Sal

Stomach upsets and dysentery are also caused by dirty food. Care should be taken with drinking water or eating shellfish or any uncooked, unpeeled fruit and vegetables. Be careful of any meat or fish, which has not been fully cooked. Most food in the shops is frozen or canned in Portugal or Brazil and is as safe/unsafe as Portuguese/Brazilian food.

Check on Dysentery

Do not eat barracuda or reef fish as these can accumulate ciguaterra, which causes syptoms of sickness. Sea urchins and jelly fish are rare but could cause a painful sting. Shark do swim in deep water but there has only been one attack recorded. Never ever swim where there is blood in the water, as all shark will home in on this from remarkable distances.

Health Advice from "OUR MAN in Dakar"

Many people suffer from an upset stomach or diarrhoea because of something they have eaten or drunk. Cholera, typhoid, dysentery and hepatitis A can be contracted from contaminated food and water. So always.

* wash your hands after going to the lavatory, before handling food or eating
* drink water, from bottles with unbroken seals
* boil tap water ( this is desalinated in CV) - more effective than sterilisation tablets
* eat fresh, thoroughly cooked food that is still piping hot

Avoid eating or drinking

* food that has been kept warm for long periods in a buffet
*ice in drinks or in cold dishes
* uncooked fruit and vegetables, unless peeled yourself eg salads
* food fed on by flies
* ice cream from kiosks or buffets
* milk, cheese and dairy products unless they are sealed and refrigerated
* undercooked or raw seafood/shellfish
* excess quantities of alcohol

All above on offer at all-inclusive factory hotels in Cape Verde

Cape Verde Hospitals

These are not currently equipped or staffed to European standards. But a new medical centre at Murdeira Villa on Sal has opened with European doctors. t. It provides treatment for normal holiday ailments or sudden attacks. It is open weekday mornings only. The main hospital on Sal at Espargos, which also has a pharmacy, is primitive. But the President of Cape Verde has offerred his mansion near the airport to be converted by Swedish doctors into a modern hospital. There is also an air ambulance at Sal Airport operated by Cape Verde Express, which can whisk you to the Canaries or Lisbon in a real emergency. None of these services are free to expatriates so please take out good health cover.

Contaminated beaches at Praia, Santiago

The beaches of Gamboa, Quebra Canela, Prainha, Praia Negra and Etar in Palmarejo have all been declared unfit for bathing by the Praia Health Department delegation. According to Health Department delegate José da Rosa,
"The beaches are unsafe for human use at the moment. The Praia Health Department delegation believes that the recent increase in the number of cases of diarrhea and skin diseases could be related to the levels of contamination on Praia’s beaches."
According to Dr. da Rosa,
"in addition to runoff from sewers, the locales are commonly used as “public restrooms” by certain individuals.
He confirms that
"the beaches in question “are contaminated with fecal coliforms, and this is considered a danger to public health. Those deciding to bathe at the beaches named are running the risk of contamination,"

suggests Dr. da Rosa, who has asked beachgoers to wait until the results of quality control analyses carried out on water samples are again positive.

Cape Verde Vet

Dottora Fatima Santos operates a veterinary clinic in Santa Maria, Sal