Doctors & dentists
The US Embassy in Santo Domingo has published a useful list of recommended doctors and specialists here. Most should speak at least some English.
Dental work in the Dominican Republic is of a very high standard. Americans have been known to travel here to visit a dentist, lured by the quality of treatment and low costs. Dentists keep their own private practices, and you’ll find several of these in every town. Speak to your insurer about whether to include dental cover in your policy.
Over-the-counter medicine for minor and serious ailments is available at farmacias and is generally cheap. You will rarely need a prescription from a doctor, unless you need access to narcotics like morphine (though many unscrupulous pharmacists will be willing to sell you this kind of thing without one).
Pharmacies are located practically everywhere, even in the smallest towns and villages. They will generally keep long opening hours, normally 8am until 8pm. Farmacia Carol and Farmax are two of the country’s biggest chains
If you find yourself with a serious medical emergency while in the Dominican Republic, the last thing you should worry about are insurance issues. Head directly to the nearest hospital.
If you don’t have transport, don’t know the way, or are not in a condition to drive or take a taxi, phone 911 and ask for an ambulancia, and give your address as clearly as possible.
There are also private ambulance companies in the bigger cities such as Movi Med (809/532-000 in Santo Domingo; 1-200-0911 elsewhere in D.R.) and Aero Ambulancia (809/826-4100 Ext. 2222; 809/826-4100 Ext. 3333; 829/722-4666 cell for emergencies; )
Advice and precautions
Dengue fever is endemic the Caribbean and there are regular outbreaks in the Dominican Republic. Malaria is another constant problem (though mainly outside the big cities). First and foremost, these can be prevented by vigilantly applying mosquito repellent and keeping your arms and legs covered. As for dengue fever, there is no known preventative medicine. In the case of malaria, speak to your doctor about anti-malarials such as chloroquine and doxycycline.
Cholera outbreaks do occur within the country, so keep an eye on travel advisory sites like the UK Foreign Office to keep up to date on areas to avoid. The prevalence of AIDS in the Dominican Republic is low at 0.9%. Exercise all the normal precautions.
Water sanitation is poor so never drink water from the tap and stick to bottled or filtered water.