Country: Sri Lanka is an island country in the northern Indian Ocean. It sits off the southeast coast of the Indian subcontinent in south Asia and has maritime borders with India to the northwest and the Maldives to the southwest. It has a population of about 20 million and Sinhala is the primary language spoken. Its capital is Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte (alos known as Kotte).
How to access emergency services: Dial 110 for medical emergencies.
Currency: Sri Lankan rupee (LKR)
Recommended immunizations and vaccines for travelers: Before traveling to Sri Lanka ask your doctor what vaccines are recommended. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are excellent resources as well.
Insurance: Find out in advance if your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures.
It is also worth ensuring your travel insurance will cover ambulances or transport either home or to more advanced medical facilities, if needed. Not all insurance covers emergency medical evacuation home or to a hospital in a major city, which may be the only way to receive medical attention in a serious emergency.
Source: International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers.
What to expect in a Sri Lankan hospital: Sri Lanka provides free universal healthcare. Facilities are readily available in public (general) hospitals situated in major towns and cities, with laboratory and radiology facilities common in most. Widely anything can be dealt with in the teaching hospitals in Colombo, Colombo South, Colombo North, Kandy/Peradeniya, Galle) and Jaffna. All doctors and nurses in the government hospitals are qualified and trained, with some of the most experienced staff working at the teaching hospitals.
For emergencies, especially accidents, it is highly recommended to go directly to general hospital accident services as they are equipped with the staff and facilities to handle emergencies. In most cases of serious accidents, private hospitals refer patients to general hospitals. This is mostly due to the high investment in equipment and staff training in the public healthcare sector.
The private healthcare sector is popular with both expatriates and Sri Lankans many of whom will always commend the level of care received, for a fraction of the cost incurred on similar procedures if treated abroad. However, it is generally limited to the major cities. While the most widely acknowledged being in Colombo and its suburbs, mainly due to being around for longer, many new private hospitals have opened across the country due to rising income of people and demand for private healthcare.
Contact your embassy/consulate: When in doubt, your country’s embassy is a good resource to turn to for medical assistance guidance.
JCI-accredited hospitals/clinics in Sri Lanka: To read about specific facilities that are JCI-accredited, visit the Hospital Search section.
Sri Lankan-specific helpful health resources:
Travel health notices: Visit the CDC or WHO for up-to-date travel notices.