Preparing Medically

It is likely that healthcare provision in your home country will differ greatly with that of Ethiopia. Whilst we have access to good medical care in the city, it is essential that you follow all of the instructions below for preparing medically for life here. You will not be approved to arrive if there are aspects that are incomplete. Use the links in the list below to navigate to the different medical topics, being careful to cover all of the topics. If you have any questions about the medical requirements to join Bingham Academy then please email

Vaccination Requirements

All adults and children coming to Ethiopia must complete immunisations for the following diseases before arrival. This is non-negotiable for a placement at Bingham Academy. Bring with you a full record of all of your vaccinations for these diseases, primary courses as well as boosters.

  • Diptheria

  • Tetanus

  • Polio

  • Meningococcal meningitis (ACWY)

  • Typhoid

  • Rabies*

  • Hepatitis A

  • Hepatitis B

  • Yellow Fever (obtaining the official certificate)

  • A 'flu vaccination should also be obtained if possible, depending on your home country's protocols.

It can take several months to complete the course of vaccinations, so it is vital that you speak with your medical care professionals as soon as you begin to think about coming to Bingham Academy. 

It is essential that you do not accept different advice about these vaccinations from your own medical care professional, travel clinic, health department or other advisors about vaccinations. There is a broad misunderstanding of what treatment is and is not available in Ethiopia. 

A printable list of all of these vaccinations is available here



All children coming to Ethiopia must be up to date on their home country's vaccination programme for the age they will be on arrival. If some of these vaccination courses are incomplete the additional doses needed must be brought with you. We are extremely unlikely to be able to complete vaccination courses. You must check that the expiry date covers when the vaccine needs to be administered, and you will need to ensure a reliable "cold chain" to get the vaccine(s) here in good condition. We can store them properly for you and administer them when required. 

Sending countries have different programmes, but by the age of 6 a child would usually be expected to have been vaccinated against: diptheria; tetanus; pertussis (whooping cough); polio; haemophilus influenzae B (HIB); pneumococcus; meningococcus C (some countries); measles; mumps; rubella (German Measles); rotavirus; varicella (chicken pox - some countries); hepatitis A (some countries); hepatitis B (some countries); and influenza (some countries).

Please note that the list at the top of the page indicates that in addition to these expected childhood vaccinations, all children must also be vaccinated for meningococal ACWY, typhoid, *rabies and yellow fever.

A printable list of all of these vaccinations is available here.



Rabies is rife in Ethiopia. It kills 40-60 people every year and this is not declining. It is spread by dog bites mostly, although cats, monkeys, bats and most other mammals can carry it. In Addis Ababa there are at least 150,000 dogs, half of which are strays and thousands of which are rabid. Most are not vaccinated.

*There is no cure for rabies and


the good news is that it

can always be prevented!

Doctors and travel health professionals at home usually assume that rabies can be treated in-country, but the after-exposure treatment for an unvaccinated person is never available in Ethiopia. See additional information here about rabies from our former SIM Ethiopia Staff Physician. 


Blood Groups

All staff MUST know their blood group. Parents should also know the blood group of all their children. This information should be recorded into the vaccination booklet for future reference. This is for your own safety in case of trauma.


Medical Evacuation Insurance

All staff MUST have medical evacuation insurance. The name of the insurance plan, policy number, phone/fax number ( not a 1-800 or toll free number), and expiry date of coverage must be left with the Bingham Academy HR office and the SIM clinic upon arrival in the country. Information regarding physician/specialist in the home country must also be supplied. This is necessary for evacuation; if you don't supply it the evacuation company will choose a doctor for you.


Malaria Prophylaxis

Anti-malarial medication is not required in Addis Ababa due to the high altitude but it is required for most areas outside of the capital (e.g. if you take a holiday or visit another ministry outside of Addis). Therefore it is important to think ahead about your preferred anti-malarial to bring supplies with you.

Mefloquine is one option for prophylaxis but it is sometimes not available in Ethiopia. For those people unable to take mefloquine, doxycycline is the next best choice but this cannot be prescribed to children under 12 years of age. Doxycycline is available in Ethiopia. Malarone is a good choice for a short visit to a malarial area but it is expensive and never available in Ethiopia. The SIM clinic tries to keep a small supply of mefloquine and Malarone, but this is only to fill in gaps of coverage, not to supply missionaries regularly. Please bring your malaria prophylaxis from your home country. Primaquine is a cheap anti-malarial for both adults and children if mefloquine, Malarone and doxycycline cannot be used. However, a test for G6PD deficiency is mandatory before taking primaquine so you might like to have this simple blood test before departure. 

Chloroquine and/or proguanil are NOT options as there is resistance to these drugs in Ethiopia.

You may hear some people recommend "artemesia tea" as a malaria prophylactic. Ignore this advice - it doesn't work and can cause resistance to currently effective malaria treatments.

Bringing your own permethrin-impregnated nets is a good idea, especially for children and babies. Self-supporting ones that don't need a hook in the ceiling are available in some countries, to fit single or double beds. Impregnated mosquito nets are sometimes available in Ethiopia. A good supply of insect repellant containing at a minimum 50% DEET should be brought from your home country.



Many essential drugs are available in the country. However that is not always the case. Medical professionals may not be aware of this. Drugs that are available include most basic analgesics (e.g. paracetamol/acetaminophen, ibuprofen), older antibiotics (e.g. amoxicillin, co-trimoxazole, ("Bactrim", "Septrim")). However if you take a prescription drug, it would be safest to bring a good supply with you when you first arrive. If the prescription medicine is not available in the country, this supply will give you time to try to obtain it from an outside source. At least three months lead time is needed to order medicines from outside the country. These medicines must NOT be sent through the post; someone must bring them in person.


Dental Services

At the moment, there are fairly good dental services available in Addis Ababa for basic treatment as well as orthodontics. Bigger problems may need to be referred to Kenya or your home country


Paedatric Services

There are a number of good international hospitals across the city. Please see the notes above regarding vaccinations for children - the likelihood is that vaccines will not be available in Ethiopia.


Obstetric / Gynecological services

There are some obstetric and gynecological specialists in the city. SIM requires that pregnant mothers deliver outside of Ethiopia; there is no high-tech obstetric or neonatal care available in the country and the blood supply is not absolutely safe.


Medical Supplies

A printable list of these items can be found here

  • Prescription medicines - at least a year's supply. See notes above

  • Malaria medicines - see notes above

  • Asthma medicines and inhalers - at least a year's supply

  • Any "over-the-counter" medicines used frequently

  • Antihistamines for allergies

  • Decongestants (pseudoephedrine - medicines with phenylephrine are not as effective)

  • Loperamide ("Imodium") for prolonged diarrhea

  • Vitamins, especially for children who are picky eaters

  • Throat lozenges and cough drops

  • Pain reliever for children (e.g. children's paracetamol or ibuprofen)

  • Adrenaline auto-injectors (e.g. Epi-Pen or AnaKit) as prescribed by your doctor if you know you are allergic to bee stings or anything that causes a severe allergic or anaphylactic reaction. Bring more than one so that a spare can be kept at school.

  • First Aid supplies

  • Thermometer

  • Contraception / anti-fertility devices

  • Hand sanitizer gel and/or wipes (should contain at least 60% alcohol)

  • Extra pair of prescription eye glasses; prescription for eye wear

  • Insect repellent containing at least 50% DEET