There are A LOT of hospitals in Nairobi. However, quality of care and other standards can vary greatly.
Private hospitals are world-class but can be incredibly expensive if you don’t have insurance. Many public hospitals provide excellent care but can be crowded and understaffed by overworked doctors and nurses.
To avoid any issues – or wildly expensive hospital bills – follow this guide to learn which are the best hospitals in Nairobi, which ones to avoid, and where to go for non-urgent medical care.
Paying for Hospital Care in Nairobi
In most cases when you arrive at a private hospital in Kenya – even in an ambulance – you’ll be expected to pay or present an insurance card before you receive any care.
No payment, no doctor.
If your employer in Kenya doesn’t provide medical insurance, or gives you a limited amount, consider getting your own coverage, as accessing hospitals without insurance is very expensive.
If you don’t have an insurance card from your provider, the hospitals in Nairobi will accept cash, credit card or M-Pesa. They’ll also provide any necessary paperwork to make a claim with your insurance company at a later date.
All the hotels have ATM machines in the lobby area in case you need to withdraw cash.
If you’re unconscious upon arrival, the staff will look in your wallet for insurance details, a credit card, and emergency contacts. I would recommend also keep an emergency contact in your purse so that they can find it easily.
Another top tip is if you are going to the hospital, don’t go alone. There is paper work and it will be much easier with a friend to help you.
The Best Private Hospitals in Nairobi
The following are the five most popular and well-regarded hospitals in Nairobi.
|Visiting Hours||1-2pm daily, for max. 30 minutes [due to Covid-19]|
Phone number: +254203662000
|Location||3rd Parklands Avenue, Nairobi|
Aga Khan University Hospital is maybe the most well-respected hospital in Nairobi. Founded by the Aga Khan Foundation over 50 years ago, it’s still operated as an NGO teaching hospital and is considered one of the best hospitals in all of Sub-Saharan Africa.
For many people living in Nairobi (and abroad), this is their first choice for hospital care.
- Visiting hours: 2-4pm daily
- Location: Upper Hill/Ngong Road
- [View on Google Maps]
The Nairobi Hospital is one of the biggest in the city. It’s currently undergoing a huge modernisation program, overhauling and updating many of its services.
However, that is unlikely to impact the level of care provided to patients.
- Visiting hours: 12.00-1.30pm; 5-7pm
- Location: Westlands/Parklands
- [View on Google Maps]
MP Shah strives to be the most modern private hospital in Nairobi, leading the way in cutting edge healthcare.
I don’t know if that’s true, but regardless, it’s an excellent hospital in the heart of Nairobi providing exceptional care in a wide range of specialties.
- Visiting hours: 12-2pm; 5-7pm
- Location: South B
- [View on Google Maps]
I’ve only been to Nairobi West for a Covid-19 PCR test so I can’t speak for regular care at the hospital.
However, I was surprised at how crowded it was inside and outside the hospital – which seems to be undergoing major renovations. Not ideal, in the middle of a pandemic. Hopefully when the building is finished, it will feel less chaotic.
- Visiting hours: 1-2pm daily, for max. 15 minutes [due to Covid-19]
- Location: Langata Rd, Karen
- [View on Google Maps]
If you live in Karen or Langata, you probably don’t want to drive all the way into Nairobi for urgent medical care.
Karen Hospital provides a wide range of medical care equal to (or even superior to) the private hospitals in the city. Consider the residents of Karen – they would expect nothing less than the absolute best.
Public Hospitals in Nairobi
Government hospitals in Nairobi often experience overcrowding and ongoing doctors strikes. I only recommend these services if private hospital care isn’t possible.
You can see a full of government run hospitals in Nairobi here.
Outpatient clinics in Nairobi are a quick and convenient option if you need non-urgent medical care, routine check ups, blood tests, etc.
You can book ahead easily at most facilities, but if you turn up without an appointment, wait times are quick. You can often expect to be seen within 15 minutes of arriving at a clinic.
If you want to see a doctor of a specific gender that is also well understood here and it’s best to let reception know before you are called. Once the results of any tests taken are ready, the doctors are very quick to act and will assess and suggest the way forward.
The best outpatient clinics in Nairobi are:
If I had to pick a ‘favourite’ clinic in Nairobi, it would be AAR Clinics. I’ve been numerous times for routine check-ups and blood tests and always found them to be attentive, efficient, thorough, conveniently located, and affordable [if you don’t have insurance].
As well as the main hospital in Parklands, Aga Khan has 17 outpatient clinics around Nairobi. They’re not as exquisitely well-managed as Aga Khan’s purely ‘for profit’ competitors but you can still expect excellent care in a convenient location.
Aside from its main campus in Upper Hill, Nairobi Hospital has seven outpatient clinics in the city. They’re mostly outside central Nairobi, in outlying neighbourhoods like Gigiri, Karen, and Embakasi.
This makes them a convenient option if you don’t want to travel into Nairobi itself.
Also known as ‘Bliss Hospital’ or ‘Bliss Clinic’, Bliss Medical Centre claim sto be Kenya’s largest network of medical centres. They have over 80 branches across the country, including at least 20 across Nairobi.
Each clinic offers a wide range of services, including dental surgery and emergency ambulances. They’re also covered by all major Kenyan insurance companies.
Tropical Diseases and Vaccinations
Think you have malaria? Go to hospital NOW. Every hospital in Nairobi is equipped to treat malaria and other tropical diseases.
The Hospital of Tropical Medicine on Ngong Road specializes in treatment of tropical diseases like malaria, bilharzia, and dengue fever. They can also administer all necessary travel vaccines for the region.
If you think you have contracted a tropical disease, don’t sit at home. Seek help immediately. These diseases can kill you very quickly.
Airports in East Africa are very strict about Yellow Fever vaccinations. You’ll need to present your vaccine card proving you’re vaccinated against Yellow Fever at most airports in the region.
If you’re leaving Kenya and haven’t received a Yellow Fever vaccine yet, ask your insurance company for a recommended hospital or clinic to receive it before you intend to travel or you may be forced to do it at the airport!
Malaria tablets are also widely available from all pharmacies – just make sure you go to good ones to avoid counterfeit replicas.
Please, if you know any excellent services, comment below and let others know where to go or to avoid.