At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist are available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. On arrival in Zambia, customs officials may ask to see prescriptions for any medication you bring into the country. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
Over 2000 cases of cholera were reported in Lusaka during the 2017-18 rainy season (November to April). You should follow the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre and take measures to reduce the risk of infection.
Medical facilities and communications in Zambia are poor, especially in rural areas. Even basic drugs and clean needles may not be available. Emergency services are limited. Make sure you know your blood group and carry a sterile medical kit including needles, dressings etc. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
On arrival in Zambia, customs officials may ask to see prescriptions for any medication you bring into the country.
Food bought from local street vendors may not meet adequate hygiene standards. Health officials are concerned about poor hygiene in markets and other food outlets which are prone to cholera. See Food and water hygiene.
The Zambia HIV Impact Assessment report of 2016 estimated that 980,000 people were living with HIV in Zambia. The overall HIV prevalence in the adult population is 12.3%, compared to a prevalence of 0.2% in adults in the UK. You should take normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, staff at the British High Commission use the SES private ambulance service (00260 962 740300 / 740302). You should check with your insurer before travelling that your cover will be sufficient for this service. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.