Cambodia Country Guide

Stay Healthy

Medical Services
Though experiencing high GDP growth (6.2% in 2012), Cambodia is still one of the poorest countries in the world. The country lacks reliable medical facilities, doctors, clinics, hospitals and medication, especially in the rural areas. Local hospitals and clinics in Cambodia are often not up to standards compared to other developing countries in Southeast Asia such as Malaysia, Thailand or even Vietnam.
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The private and pricey Thai-owned Royal Rattanak Hospital in Phnom Penh can be trusted for emergency medical care and can treat most diseases and injuries common to the region. Naga Clinic has branches in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. It is also clean, safe and useful for minor conditions. Any serious medical problems should be dealt with in Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City or Singapore, which boast better medical services i.e. for those who can afford them. Make sure your insurance covers medical evacuation.

No health certificates or vaccinations are officially required for entry into Cambodia, unless arriving directly from countries in Africa. Generally advised are shots against tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis B and meningitis, a polio booster and especially gamma globulin shots against hepatitis A. Seek the advice of your medical practitioner or doctor before coming to Cambodia.

The contents of a basic medical kit-such as of the shelf pain killers, antihistamines, antibiotics, kaolin, oral rehydration solution, calamine lotion, bandages and band-aids, scissors and DEET insect repellent-can be acquired in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. The particularly fastidious should put their kits together before coming to Cambodia. If taking prescription drugs, ensure you have sufficient supply during your trip.

Village in Cambodia by Cam42

Phnom Penh is malaria free and most major tourist attractions including Siem Reap are virtually malaria free. Consider malaria tablets for trips to Cambodia of less than 30 days, though the most commonly visited places have minimal risk. The biggest disease worry is mosquito-borne dengue fever (it's called "break-bone fever" because of how it feels) which, although quite unpleasant, to say the least generally isn't life-threatening for first-time victims. Imported DEET based insect repellent is available in Cambodia. A mosquito net may also help. 

Dehydration, Diarrhoea & Dysentery
The most common ailment for travellers is diarrhoea, which can deteriorate into dysentery, resulting in dehydration. Stay hydrated by trying to consume 2-3 litres of water a day and don't forget that dehydration can also be brought by a lack of salt - soy sauce is your friend in this climate. If you do get severe diarrhoea and become badly dehydrated, take an oral rehydration solution and drink plenty of treated water. However, a lot of blood or mucus in the stool can indicate dysentery, which requires a trip to a doctor for antibiotics.

Consuming Water
Avoid untreated water including ice made from untreated water and any raw fruit or vegetables washed in untreated water. Tap water is generally not drinkable, so avoid. However, the water supply in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap is safe but few people trust it - safe enough to brush your teeth but many prefer to filter or boil it before use. 

Take water purification tablets or iodine to sterilise water if planning to visit Cambodia's more rural areas. Boiling the water will also sterilise it. The water in the jugs at cafes or restaurants will have been boiled, as obviously the tea and coffee. You can find cheap bottled water easily available from the shops in any town or village. 

Floating shop on Tonle Sap by Michael Clarke

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