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World Travel Guide > Guides > Africa > Gambia

Gambia Health Care and Vaccinations

Title Special precautions
Yellow Fever Sometimes*
Typhoid Sometimes
Tetanus Yes
Rabies Sometimes
Malaria Yes
Hepatitis A Sometimes
Diphtheria Sometimes

* A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from all travellers over nine months of age arriving from endemic or infected areas. Travellers arriving from non-endemic zones should note that vaccination is strongly recommended for travel outside the urban areas, even if an outbreak of the disease has not been reported and they would not normally require a vaccination certificate to enter the country.

Health Care

Visitors are advised to bring sunscreen, insect repellent and indigestion/diarrhoea medicines; all of these can prove expensive in The Gambia. The government plays a dominant role in health services, but private practices exist in the urban and resort areas. Health insurance is strongly advised. Prescription drugs should be carried in their original containers and with a copy of the prescription.

Note: Some over-the-counter and prescription medicines are banned under The Gambia’s drug laws. These include medicines like those containing diazepam or codeine.

Food and Drink

Mains water in the urban and resort areas is safe. Elsewhere, water for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should be boiled or otherwise sterilised. Fresh milk should be boiled if unpasteurised; powdered or tinned milk is preferable. Avoid unpasteurised dairy products. Meat, fish and vegetables should be cooked, and fruit peeled. Avoid fruits and vegetables with bruised or broken skin.

Other Risks

Diarrhoeal diseases including giardiasis are common. Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) is present; avoid swimming and paddling in stagnant fresh water. Hepatitis E is widespread. Hepatitis B is endemic. Cholera is a risk, and up-to-date advice should be sought on the most suitable precautions. Rabies is present in dogs, bats and other mammals in The Gambia. Visitors who are planning on taking part in outdoor activities are at risk.

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