With a population of just under 1.4 million in 2015, Trinidad and Tobago ranks 153rd in the world by population and 176th by total area. The official language of Trinidad and Tobago is English. The currency is the Trinidad and Tobago dollar.
Trinidad and Tobago ranks 67th in world health ranking per WHO. In 2014, the total expenditure on health per person was $1,816, which is 5.9% of the GDP. Males have a life expectancy at birth of 68 years, and females can expect to live 75 years. There are 1.18 physicians per 1,000 people in Trinidad and Tobago as compared with 2.56 physicians per 1,000 people in the United States.
The Ministry of Health is ultimately responsible for public facilities, including their financing, but they are run by the five Regional Health Authorities (RHAs). Trinidad and Tobago has 9 hospitals: 3 general, 2 district, and 4 specialist. The Ministry of Health has been upgrading the physical infrastructure of these facilities, trying to overcome a shortage of staff, equipment, and resources, which has led to long waits and low quality of care in some instances. All are located mostly in urban areas, making it hard for those in remote areas to use them. In addition to the hospitals, there are more than 100 district health facilities located throughout the country.
Private facilities (4 main hospitals) are available for those who can afford it, offering services not covered by the public sector as well as reduced waiting periods. Payment usually must be made before treatment. The private sector also offers dentists, pharmacists, and opticians.
Health insurance is not required in public facilities, where citizens can access free health care, paid for by the government and taxpayers. The Ministry of Health implemented the Chronic Disease Assistance Program, providing free medication at over 250 pharmacies to fight a wide variety of chronic diseases. They have also placed an emphasis on primary care, promoting wellness and health education.
Private health insurance is an option that usually covers about 90% of medical expenses. However, most of the population see it as a luxury and don’t have it.
Travel, or international, health insurance provides comprehensive medical coverage when traveling outside of one’s home country. Travel health insurance is different from travel insurance, as the latter may provide only emergency coverage but not full medical coverage.
Travelers should check with their health insurance provider, as they may already have an option of international health coverage. If they do not, they can purchase travel health insurance from their home country or the destination country.