Can you tell us more about health care and schools in Bolivia?

by Manuel
(Austin TX)

My wife is insulin dependent diabetic. We have young kids and are thinking of moving to Bolivia. She has medicaid and without it I don't know how we could afford her insulin. Also I hear public schools lack a lot. Thoughts on this?

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Jun 27, 2018
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US Embassy has a list of medical personnel
by: BoliviaBella

On the website of the US Embassy in La Paz, if you hold your cursor over the the U.S. Citizen Services and scroll down that page a bit, you'll find a title that says Local Resources and under there you can click on Medical Assistance.

On the Medical Assistance page you will find a link to download (PDF format) a list of all kinds of medical centers, doctors, dentists, and other types of medical personnel who are on the Embassy list. I assume this means they speak English. You could contact some of them in advance of your trip to Bolivia to see if they can help answer your medical questions, recommend a doctor who specializes in diabetes, where to find insulin, etc.

This is the direct link to the PDF document. Just wanted you to know where it's located on the Embassy website in case you need anything else from their page:

PDF Medical Resource List

You didn't mention which city you plan to move to. The list is divided up by city.

Hope this is helpful?
Webmaster

Jun 26, 2018
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Schools and health
by: Anonymous

The public schools are terrible period. All the things pointed out above are true, but he forgot to add that a lot of days are spent celebrating holidays and there are a lot of holidays.

The private schools are getting worse my the minute. They are not designed to teach they are a money making business. The government now has taken them over and even restricts how many foreign trained teachers can be on staff. There is no way they can be certified with this restriction.

The government take over also changed the school year. It used to be the same as the states now they are on the same schedule as all schools in the country.

I am sorry to say these things, but I have taught here and know what is going on.

The health question is also correct, but I have a real problem with there being a lot of good doctors here. There are a few, but how you find them is the problem.

Jun 25, 2018
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Don't put your kids in public schools in Bolivia
by: Anonymous

My wife and I have lived in Bolivia for almost 9 years. Bolivia's public schools are not a good idea for your kids. The government has built a lot of new public schools over the past few years, but one thing is infrastructure and another is the actual teaching, teachers and education system.

Starting with the teachers, most of them are very nice people, but they very underpaid (average monthly salary is $300). Most teachers who work at public schools studied at public universities or "normales" (teachers colleges), most of which are not good quality.

The public schools are poorly administrated. Everything comes from the central government, such as the teacher's salaries (which gets paid late a lot) and anything necessary for maintenance. This often results in teachers striking for better pay. Schools can go without basic maintenance for weeks or months. Many students are expected to provide their own desks and chairs.

Whether you put your child in a public school or a private school, expect to be given a very, very long list of books and school supplies which you must purchase prior to the first day of school. Uniforms are the norm at almost all schools, public or private, as are gym uniforms. There is no such thing as school buses, although some people offer shuttle van service.

The school year runs from the first week of February to the third week of November, with a 1-2 week winter vacation in July. In other words, our summer vacation is roughly 9-10 weeks from mid-November to last week of January.

The school day is shorter than in the US and is usually divided into 2 shifts. Morning students study from abouot 7:15 am to 1:15 pm. Afternoon students from 1:30 to 7:30. It varies a bit by school. Most schools don't have a lunch program because kids eat lunch at home either after school or before school, depending on their shift.

Private schools run from anywhere between $150/month and $500/month per student with the American schools being the most expensive. Most schools have an entrance exam that a student must pass, so Spanish is essential except for some of the foreign schools.

The health care system is also problematic here, if you use public health care, but private doctors and hospitals are very good, with many of them educated in the US and Europe. There are a diabetics in Bolivia, so insulin must be available, and if it is, it's probably much less expensive than in the US but don't take my word on that, it's a guess because most other medications are MUCH cheaper here than the US. Medical care is also MUCH cheaper. I'll leave it to someone more knowledgeable to answer your questions on healthcare.

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