Travel to Libya

14/06/2013 -- Admin
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Roman ruins, couscous, the Sahara, jeep safaris, Tripoli, green tea, Leptis Magna, dune surfing, Sabratha, desert treks, oasis towns, Ghadames, mountains, Tadrart Acacus, kite surfing, Neolithic rock art, camel rides, dates, quad biking, World War Two battlefield tours, Benghazi War Cemetery, heritage, archaeology, Gorgon’s head, diving, snorkelling, windsurfing, Cyrene, olive oil, Tobruk, 4x4 desert tours…

Medical & Health

"Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation." Official advice.

Check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website before making travel plans to Libya.  If they advise against travel, your insurance won’t cover you for emergency medical expenses or cancellation.

Claims as a result of terrorism, civil unrest, kidnap or ransom are common exclusions in travel policies. It is possible to buy cover for terrorism, but your insurer could reject your claim if terrorist activities were already occurring prior to departure.

Documents needed:  Passport and Visa. The UK has no health care agreement with Libya so you can't use your EHIC card for free or reduced cost treatment.

Your insurer could authorise treatment in Malta or mainland Europe if you fall sick or have an accident in Libya, so take your EU card just in case. 

Doctors and Dentists

There are both public and private health providers in Libya.  The vast majority of doctors and dentists are from overseas and speak English.  Sadly many have left the country since the revolution, so provision is sparse.

Hospital treatment

Even before the civil war, Libyans complained about poor levels of care as well as a lack of basic equipment such as beds and blankets. 

Conditions have worsened since then, with the Libyan health system now under severe pressure.

Depending on the circumstances you could be asked to pay for treatment upfront, even with insurance, so make sure you can access funds.  

The major hospitals are in Tripoli and Benghazi.  Private clinics offer more specialist treatment, but standards are generally low. Locals who can afford it choose Europe for treatment, mostly for cancer or accidents. 

Let your insurer know straight away if you need hospitalisation, and get copies of paperwork for whatever treatment you receive (blood tests, x-rays, medication, etc.).

Ambulance: Even in the best of times ambulances couldn’t be relied on and were poorly equipped. An air ambulance back to the UK could cost over £30,000, so make sure your travel insurance covers you for medical expenses and repatriation.

Remember that even if your travel insurer has arrangements with an air ambulance provider, they may not be allowed to carry out a medical evacuation inside Libya.

Prescriptions:  Some medicines are in short supply, especially prescription drugs. If you need specific medication take enough to last the duration of your stay in Libya. 

Always check the use by date stamps on medicines and remember that extremes of temperature can limit effectiveness.

As always, check with your GP before travelling especially if you already have any medical conditions (heart problem, diabetes, arthritis). Official advice is: before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.