Health Care and Immunisations In Qatar
According to the World Health Organisation's country list no immunisation is required before entering the country at the time of writing.
When coming in to Qatar you will have a health check. This will include a chest x-ray and blood test to check for diseases such as HIV. Failing the health test will mean being sent back to your country.
Most treatment is available in Qatar including psychiatric and cancer treatment. Qatar has invested a lot of money in its health system, doubling its expenditure over the last two years, and has first class equipment.
Qatar obviously has ambitions in the medical arena: Hamad Medical Corporation hold regular conferences, have continual training for its medical staff, have started manufacturing medical equipment and hope to develop 'health tourism'. However, the bureaucracy, as ever, is confusing and chaotic, and when I rang up to get more information and the receptionist couldn't understand my request she hung up on me.
Currently, residents have to pay for public health care, but it is heavily subsidised. Qatar is planning to move towards a system of health insurance, although no plans have yet been announced.
In the meantime, to reduce the strain on its health service, Qatar is encouraging the development of the private health sector. People who choose the private sector or purchase private health insurance generally do so for speed and convenience (and to avoid the dreaded bureaucracy!)
For non-emergency treatment your first visit should be to a clinic. (A visit to the clinic is also like a microcosm of Qatar society watch the local nurses swan around chatting and attending to their nails while Indian and Filipino nurses do all the work). Which clinic you visit will depend on where you live. The clinic will refer to you the hospital for further treatment if necessary.
Charges (subject to change)
A single visit to the clinic costs QR 30/$8. Alternatively, buy a health card for QR100/$25 (see below) which covers you for a year. Consultations and treatment (non-emergency) in the hospital often cost extra.
Medicine is also heavily subsidised. For example, I recently purchased a course of antibiotics from a government pharmacy for five riyals (1.5 U.S. dollars). Expect to pay a lot more if you go private.
As mentioned above, the current system is due to be revamped and replaced with a system of health insurance.
Obtaining A Health Card
You can obtain a health card at a health card office located either in your clinic or at Rumeilla Hospital. To obtain a health card at a health card office you will need photocopies of your passport and visa or your ID, two photographs (4cm x 3cm), the appropriate fee, your hospital appointment and health centre card and the completed application form.
The application form is written in both Arabic and English and can be completed in either language. It doesn't have to be typed.
You will be given a number which you can use while you are waiting for your card. Your health card should be available within two weeks.
You can apply or renew your health card at the Qatar general post office details are on their website here. Applying for a renewal is rather simple, and all you need is your old health card and one hundred riyals.
Health cards can also be renewed online on Qatar E-government.
There is an excellent paediatric hospital in Al Sadd. Qatar does not have health visitors like the U.K., but does have a similar system of immunisation. Hamad Medical Corporation also run a hotline for childrens illnesses on +974 4396061.
Admission To Hospital
Hamad Medical Corporation provides extensive information on hospital admission here.
Al Khor Hospital: 474 5555