Bolivia: migrant health guide

Advice and guidance on the health needs of migrant patients from Bolivia for healthcare practitioners.

Main messages

If the patient is new to the UK:

Screen all new entrants, including children, for tuberculosis (TB).

Ascertain any risk factors for hepatitis B infection that may indicate the need for screening, because Bolivia has a low prevalence.

Be alert for possible cases of Chagas disease, and refer as appropriate, because there is a risk of chronic Chagas disease in migrants from Bolivia.

There is a risk of typhoid infection in Bolivia.

There is a high risk of malaria in Bolivia.

Consider nutritional and metabolic concerns.

Infectious diseases


Ensure that all patients, especially children, are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule. See Immunisation collection with complete schedules.


There is a high incidence of TB in Bolivia (40 to 499 cases per 100,000), so:

  • screen all new entrants (including children) for TB according to NICE guidelines
  • refer to TB services promptly if screening is positive
  • maintain long term vigilance for symptoms of TB even if initial screening is negative
  • be aware that TB is a notifiable disease

Sexually transmitted infections and HIV

Take a sexual history, and:

  • screen for STIs and HIV according to risk as specified in the UK national standards and guidelines
  • test all sexually active patients under the age of 25 for chlamydia

Bolivia has a low rate of HIV (≤1%), so offer and recommend an HIV test if the patient:

  • falls into a high risk group
  • is newly registering in a high prevalence area

Hepatitis B

Bolivia has a low prevalence of hepatitis B, so:

  • offer screening for hepatitis B to all pregnant women during each pregnancy
  • immunise appropriately babies born to mothers who are hepatitis B positive, and follow up accordingly
  • be aware that the UK has a universal infant immunisation programme for hepatitis B and a selective immunisation programme for higher risk groups

Hepatitis C

Bolivia has a higher prevalence of hepatitis C than the UK, so consider screening for hepatitis C if other risk factors apply.


There is a high risk of malaria in some areas of Bolivia, due to P. falciparum and P. vivax], so:


There is a risk of typhoid infection in Bolivia, so:

  • ensure that travellers to Bolivia are offered typhoid immunisation and advice on prevention of enteric fever
  • remember enteric fever in the differential diagnosis of illness in patients with a recent history of travel to or from Bolivia


There is a risk of helminth infections in Bolivia, including soil transmitted helminthiasis.


There is a risk of chronic Chagas disease in migrants from Bolivia, so:

  • be alert for possible cases
  • refer as appropriate

Travel plans and advice

Ask opportunistically about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin. People who travel to visit friends and relatives (VFR travellers) should visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for overseas travel advice and National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) for country specific travel advice prior to leaving the UK.

Nutritional and metabolic concerns


There is a moderate risk of anaemia in adults (estimated prevalence in non-pregnant women is 20 to 40%) and a high risk in pre-school children (estimated prevalence is >40%), so:

  • be alert to the possibility of anaemia in recently arrived migrants, particularly women and pre-school children
  • test as clinically indicated

Vitamin D

Consider the possibility of vitamin D deficiency in people who may be at risk due to:

  • darker skin
  • those who are not often outdoors
  • those who cover up most of their skin when outdoors

Vitamin A

There is a high risk of vitamin A deficiency in Bolivia.

Women’s health

Reproductive health indicators

Reproductive health indicator UK Bolivia
Number of children per woman¹ 1.7 2.7
Use of contraception² 71.7% 66.5%

¹lifetime average; ²by woman of reproductive age or partner

No data are available on:

  • mammography screening rates
  • cervical cancer screening rates

Country profile

Health indicators and health care

WHO Global Health Observatory has a summary of health indicators and health care in Bolivia.

Culture, politics and history

BBC News and The World Factbook provide background information on the culture, politics and history of Bolivia.


Language Population (%)
Spanish (official) 60.7
Quechua (official) 21.2
Aymara (official) 14.6
Foreign Languages 2.4
Guarani (official) 0.6
Other native languages 0.4

Source: The World Factbook.


Religion Population (%)
Roman Catholic 70
Evangelical 14.5
Adventist 2.5
Mormon 1.2
Agnostic 0.3
Atheist 0.8
Other 3.5
None 6.6

Source: The World Factbook.

Migration to the UK

There were almost 4,000 people from Bolivia living in England and Wales at the time of the 2011 Census.

Source: Office for National Statistics.

Published 31 July 2014
Last updated 26 August 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated country guidance on prevalence of communicable diseases and other health topics.

  2. First published.