Before I left for this trip I tried to research if I would be able to get my asthma and thyroid medication in different countries. As our trip spans over a few years, taking medication for the whole trip in advance is just not possible/practical. Unfortunately I found very little information back then, so if you too suffer from asthma and/or hypothyroidism then this might be helpful for you:
As I had some time in Lombok (Indonesia) because we are currently waiting on our visa extensions, I decided to go to a doctor to get prescriptions for my asthma (Symbicort Turbohaler) and my hypothyroidism (L-Thyrox). At least that’s what I thought I had to do. Turns out it was even easier than that.
The first step was finding a hospital. From a recent experience in Bali looking for rabies vaccinations I wanted to find a reasonably priced one but preferably one with english speaking doctors. Usually I don’t mind bumbling along with the little Indonesian I speak / understand, but when it comes to talking medication, blood tests and health I didn’t feel quite confident nor comfortable enough trying in Indonesian. So I tried researching hospitals in the internet and found a few names but still didn’t really know where to go to. So I decided on a whim just to go to the Mataram Public Hospital which seems to be the main governmental hospital in Mataram. I then cycled to the address where it was supposed to be only to find out that no hospital was near. I asked around but people only directed me to a different hospital further away. I didn’t really understand the directions and ended up searching for nearby hospitals on Google Maps. So I went to Rumah Sakit Risa Sentra Medika next.
Once there I talked to a friendly receptionist (in english) and explained to her what I needed. I also brought my current medication and the packaging as well as a document that I suffer from asthma and need the Symbicort-Turbohaler (in English and German by my German doctor). The receptionist then told me that I didn’t need to see a doctor because I brought enough proof that I take the medication and therefore they can just sell it to me. As to the asthma-medication that is perfect for me because it saves the cost of a consultation. In regard to the hypofunction of the thyroid you need to do a blood test every half year or so to check if you take enough / too much medication. But I figure that can wait a few more month as I feel fine at the moment. The only downside was that they only have medication with 100 nano grams as hypothyroidism is apparently not a very common disease in Indonesia (that’s what the receptionist told me). That is fine for me but when you for example need 50 nano grams you might have to split the pills.
So basically what I want to say: Getting the Symbicort Turbohaler for my asthma and Levothyroxine-Sodium for my Hypothyroidism in Mataram (Lombok) was an easy affair in my experience and I recommend Rumah Sakit Risa Sentra Medika for that. I would also recommend bringing your old medication and packaging and if you’re still at home and thinking about it – some sort of document about the medication you’re taking from your doctor. That might also be helpful in border situations when someone asks about your medication.