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Health Care

Medical Services on the islands

The type of medical provision on the islands at the moment may sway your decision on whether the islands are for you. 

The islands of Sao Vicente and Santiago have more medical facilities than Sal and the other islands.

There are a number of private clinics open in Santa Maria, Sal Island; Clinitur, Medlab and Santa Maria Clinic.

Expats or foreign nationals that require serious medical care generally travel to other countries, Cape Verdean nationals will also seek medical care abroad if possible

Medical care may be sought in the home countries of foreign nationals living in Cape Verde. In emergency situations, people needing evacuating to a hospital abroad, may in certain circumstances (with authoristaion of doctors and their health and travel insurance) be air lifted to hospitals on Gran Canaria which is 2hrs and 15minutes flight from Sal Island.


One Doctor on Sal made the following comment in 2008; 'Even though British Nationals may have had the 'Hepatitis A' vaccine which lasts 10 years, (as a combination vaccine in the UK), those that live on the islands should have the 'Hepatitis A' vaccine every 12months (in June), as new strains are passed on from person to person.

Emergency Services

Response times of emergency services on the islands are not quick.

Fire engines and staff could not attend one restaurant fire in 2016 because they were needed to be on standby at Sal airport. The wooden restaurant was completey destroyed.

Police may respond quicker on some islands than others.

There is a private ambulance service which operates in Santa Maria, Sal Island.

In case of emergency, dial the following numbers, but be aware, staff may not understand English or other languages:

Hospital - 130

Fire-brigade – 131

Police – 132

Detective force – 800 11 34

Mosquitos, fly's and insect bites

There are more fly's around in the hotter months, they can be really annoying and difficult to keep off food or in drinks.

Mosquitos can be annoying too, there are mosquito coils you can burn in your room, but these can give off strong odours which may be irritating. You should bring mosquito protection with you, you may be lucky and not get bit, but it is better to take preventative measures than suffer after being bitten.


There are Pharmacies on many of the islands, however they may run out of stock or not have certain items that you need during your stay, so bring medication with you.


There are physiotherapists on the main bigger islands, unsure if there are any on the smaller islands.


Again, there are Dentists of the main bigger or tourists islands.

Travelling to the Cape Verde islands

Keep in mind some islands have less infrastructure than the main and tourist islands in Cape Verde. All islands are prone to having power cuts. Power cuts mean no lighting in some areas. Hotels will have their own generators. If there is no power then the water supply won't work, no showers, tap water, or water to flush toilets. For hygiene purposes, if you are not staying in a hotel, you may want to consider storing 5ltr bottles of tap water for washing and cleaning purposes. A small torch may be useful if venturing out at night.

We have some useful numbers within our Island Pages, there are also some contacts provided by the British Embassy in their notes, on the British Government website and other Government websites.

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