Zimbabwe
Travel clinic Zimbabwe
Travel health and vaccine advice for Zimbabwe

Home to an incredibly rich biodiversity, Zimbabwe offers spectacular wildlife watching opportunities and is a very good alternative to the other big safari-destinations unfortunately spoiled by mass tourism. You are sure to spot the Big Five in Zimbabwe, away from the crowds. But the Southern African country hides even more wonders waiting to be explored, like the fascinating archaeological site of “Great Zimbabwe” bearing witness to the rich history of the country, and the majestic Victoria Falls lying on the border with the neighboring Zambia. And all along your trip in Zimbabwe, you will always be amazed by the kindness of the charming local population.

HEALTH ADVICE AND VACCINATIONS FOR TRAVEL TO ZIMBABWE

We make every effort to ensure that the information posted on our website is up to date and accurate according to the latest public health recommendations; however, it is impossible for us to make changes on a daily basis.

For the most current travel health recommendations, please call our clinic as make an appointment with one of our travel health professionals.

ZIMBABWE – RECOMMENDED VACCINES

Yellow Fever

A proof of vaccination against yellow fever may be required upon entry in to Zimbabwe.

Some travellers may not be eligible to receive this vaccine. Please enquire with your health care professional regarding your specific details.
It is important to note that the vaccine should be administered at least 10 days prior to your departure.

For further information, please consult with the World Health Organization (WHO) website:
https://www.who.int/ith/ith-country-list.pdf

Hepatitis ARecommended for all travelers.
Hepatitis BRecommended for all travelers.
Typhoid feverRecommended for all travelers.
Tetanus – Diphtheria – Pertussis Vaccine

Tetanus: In exceptional circumstances (eg, stay in a region where access to health care is limited), for a person aged 18 years or older, 1 dose of DT may be given if 5 years or more has elapsed since the last dose.
Otherwise, one booster dose at the age of 50*.

Pertussis (Whooping Cough):  1 dose is recommended for pregnant women, for every pregnancy, regardless of immunization history and the interval since the last dose (betwen week 26 and 32).

*Only applicable for Quebec.

Measles – Rubella – MumpsTwo doses recommended for all travelers born after 1970, if not previously given.
CholeraFor humanitarian workers and health care providers.
Flu – InfluenzaSeasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing or by touching infected surfaces. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine yearly. Vaccine is recommended 14 days prior to departure.
Routine vaccines (dCaT, Polio, Meningococcal, Shingles, Pneumococcal, Hepatitis B, HPV, MMR & Varicella)Recommended for all travelers
African Tick Bite FeverPresence. All travellers should protect themselves against tick bites.
RabiesFor travelers at high risk of animal bites or being involved in activities with bats, dogs and other mammals. Clients who plan to visit remote areas may consider receiving this vaccine. Important to note the pre-exposure rabies vaccine is administered in 2 doses with one week interval between doses. Post-exposure vaccination is always recommended, even for those previously vaccinated.
SchistosomiasisAvoid swimming in fresh water.
Traveler’s Diarrhea (ETEC)Talk to your health care professional about the risks and precautionary measures to take, as well as the Dukoral® vaccine. Important to note that the Dukoral vaccine is an oral vaccine given in 2 doses, recommended at least 2 weeks prior to departure.
MalariaMalaria is present in Zimbabwe. The risk may be region specific. Prophylaxis measures to be discussed with the health care professional.
Dengue Fever, Chikungunya and/or ZikaThere are many illnesses that are transmitted via mosquito bites and unfortunately we do not have vaccines to protect us against most of them. It is important to inquire with your healthcare professional regarding the specific risks and the different illnesses presently in circulation.

RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS FOR TRAVEL IN ZIMBABWE

AntimalarialsMalarone, Doxycycline or Mefloquine
Acetazolamide/DexaméthasoneRecommended to prevent Acute mountain sickness (AMS).
Antibiotics (Traveler’s Diarrhea)Azithromycin or Suprax

FOOD AND WATER-BORNE DISEASES IN ZIMBABWE

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers’ diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Southern Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southern Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Risk

Cholera is a risk in parts of Zimbabwe.  Most travellers are at very low risk.

To protect against cholera, all travellers should practise safe food and water precautions.

Travellers at higher risk of getting cholera include those:

  • visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation
  • visiting areas where outbreaks are occurring

Vaccination may be recommended for high-risk travellers, and should be discussed with a health care professional.

Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.

  • Travellers’ diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers’ diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.

INSECTS AND ILLNESS IN ZIMBABWE

In some areas in Zimbabwe, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, chikungunya, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

There is currently a risk of chikungunya in Zimbabwe. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

  • In Zimbabwe, dengue fever may occur sporadically. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue fever can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue fever changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. After a decline in reported dengue cases worldwide in 2017 and 2018, numbers have been steeply rising again.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.

Zika virus infection is a risk in Zimbabwe. The mosquito that spreads the virus is found in Zimbabwe.  

Travel recommendations:

All travellers to Zimbabwe should protect themselves from mosquito bites and other diseases spread by insects.   

MALARIA in zimbabwe

  • There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in Zimbabwe.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
  • Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.

ANIMALS AND ILLNESS IN ZIMBABWE

Travellers to Zimbabwe are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Africa, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.

PERSON-TO-PERSON INFECTIONS IN ZIMBABWE

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses in Zimbabwe. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).  

High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs. For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low. Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional. High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.

MEDICAL SERVICES AND FACILITIES IN ZIMBABWE

Medical facilities and medical supplies in Zimbabwe may be limited. In Zimbabwe, acceptable medical care can be accessed in Harare and Bulawayo. Outside of these major cities, the health care infrastructure remains insufficient. If you need medical care in Zimbabwe, you can go to the Avenues Clinic or to the St. Anne’s Hospital, both in Harare. These establishments provide satisfying basic care. 

If you need an ambulance in Zimbabwe, contact the Medical Air Rescue Service (MARS) at 263 4 727540. Note that this organization also provides air evacuation to other countries in case of serious health issues.

Basic medicines can be found in pharmacies and hospitals in major cities in Zimbabwe. But it is essential that you bring your own medical supplies, especially if you need specific treatments or if you intend to go to remote areas. There is a significant shortage of prescription medication. Make sure you bring enough prescription medication for the duration of your stay.

Almost all medical services, such as doctor visits, hospitals and air ambulance medical evacuation, must be paid for immediately in cash, as overseas medical insurance payments are rarely accepted.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

KEEP IN MIND…

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

SECURITY IN ZIMBABWE

Demonstrations and civil unrest may occur in Zimbabwe. They usually take place in the Central Business District and high density suburbs of major cities such as Harare and Bulawayo. They have led to violence in the past.

Read More »

Emergency services in Zimbabwe

Emergency services exist but may be subject to certain limitations. In case of emergency, dial 999.