Ethiopia: Health & Vaccinations
While there are good medical facilities in Addis Ababa, outside the capital, services are generally not very good, though private (mission) hospitals do tend to have better trained staff and more advanced drugs and equipment than public hospitals. Make sure you have the latest safety tips from the establishment where you will be staying, and take common sense precautions as you would when travelling elsewhere. Avoid drinking tap water that has not been boiled or disinfected, eating produce that has not been peeled or cooked, and eating food from street vendors. Drink lots of water to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke, and make sure to always use insect repellent to avoid contracting insect-borne diseases.
As always, when travelling to any destination, please be sure you are up to date with all routine vaccinations. Commonly recommended vaccinations for travel to Africa include the following: Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Yellow Fever, Rabies, and Meningitis. Visit your doctor several weeks before your trip to ensure that you have all the vaccines and medications you need.
Malaria Recommendations for Ethiopia
There is a moderate risk of malaria in all areas of Ethiopia that lie below 2,500 m, with the exception of the capital city of Addis Ababa. Therefore, it is recommended you consult your doctor to see whether you should take malaria prophylaxis before entering South Africa. The course should start 24 hours before entering Ethiopia and should be taken for 6 weeks after leaving the country.
Other prevention methods such as using mosquito repellent and sleeping under a mosquito net are also recommended.
Yellow Fever Vaccination Requirements for Ethiopia
Ethiopia requires a valid yellow fever certificate from all foreign visitors and citizens over 1 year of age travelling from an infected area or having been in transit through infected areas (>12 hours). This rule applies to travellers from the following countries: Angola, Argentina, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, French Guyana, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Suriname, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, and Venezuela.
However, Ethiopia itself is a yellow fever-endemic country. While yellow fever is not known to occur in the Somali and Afar provinces in the east, it has been known to occur in the rest of the country. If your itinerary will take you out of these eastern, yellow fever-free zones, it is absolutely recommended that you be vaccinated.
Moreover, because Ethiopia is considered an infected area, many countries will require proof of vaccination against yellow fever upon entry for all travellers who have recently been in Ethiopia. If you are travelling directly from Ethiopia to the U.S. or U.K., you will not need the yellow fever vaccination certificate in order to return home, but citizens of other countries should check their respective re-entry requirements.