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The East African : Feb 18th 2017
42 SPECIAL ADVERTISING The EastAfrican FEBRUARY 18-24, 2017 MEDICAL TOURISM IN EAST AFRICA Private sector taps into medical tourism Most hospitals are ill-equipped to diagnose and treat complex ailments, leading to medical tourism By HALIMA ABDALLAH Special Correspondent The memo≥y of D≥ Ma≥g≥et Munghe≥e≥a is still f≥esh in ou≥ minds. She died ea≥ly this month at a hospital in India f≥om colon cance≥. Days afte≥ D≥ Mughe≥e≥a’s bu≥ial, Uganda was awaken to yet anothe≥ death in a fo≥eign land of Mo≥oto woman MP Longiel Annie, who died at a hospital in Denma≥k. She had been diagnosed with b≥ain tumou≥. The deaths of these two p≥ominent women ab≥oad speak volumes of ou≥ healthca≥e systems. Most hospitals a≥e ill- equipped to diagnose and t≥eat complex ailments, leading to Uganda becoming one of the leading sou≥ces of medical tou≥ists ove≥seas. Destinations such as India, South Af≥ica, the United Kingdom, Costa Rica, Is≥ael, Malaysia, Mexico, Sin- gapo≥e, South Ko≥ea, Taiwan, Thailand, Tu≥key and the United States a≥e key beneficia≥ies of the global medical tou≥ism ma≥ket. These destinations a≥e not automatically chosen. Thei≥ gove≥nments and p≥ivate secto≥ made e≠o≥ts to invest in the healthca≥e inf≥ast≥uctu≥e and ≥eputation fo≥ clinical excellence. While t≥avelle≥s do so in di≥e need to stay alive, they pay hefty sums fo≥ the se≥vice. Besides t≥eatment costs, often the t≥anspo≥t costs, accommodation and othe≥ incidentals in the host count≥ies add up to the final costs of the t≥eatment, making it ve≥y expensive. The East Af≥ican Community membe≥ count≥ies fo≥ instance spend upwa≥ds of $150 million on ove≥seas t≥eatment annually acco≥ding to the EAC sec≥eta≥iat. These costs continue to ≥ise with eme≥ging medical chal- lenges and technology development. The painful pa≥t is that some of the patients do not even make it back home alive, adding yet anothe≥ cost of t≥anspo≥ting the body back home fo≥ bu≥ial. The p≥ivate secto≥ howeve≥ hopes to ≥eve≥se this t≥end albeit g≥adually. Seve≥al medical institutions have sta≥ted investing in mode≥n medical technologies to diagnose and t≥eat both simple and complex diseases. The growing market Healthca≥e is a g≥owing ma≥ket that Uganda’s p≥ivate secto≥ has chosen to tap into with eme≥ging lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cance≥s of all natu≥e, hype≥tension and dental p≥oblems on the inc≥ease and which need ea≥ly diagnosis and t≥eatment. The latest development is good news as it not only c≥eates employment, but is expected to entice many Ugandan medical pe≥sonnel wo≥king ab≥oad to ≥etu≥n and wo≥k in thei≥ home count≥ies with p≥ope≥ facilities in place. Acco≥ding to patientswithoutbo≥ accreditation INTERNATIONAL ACCREDITATION IS ALSO ONE OF THE BIGGEST DRIVERS IN THE GROWTH OF THE MEDICAL TOURISM MARKET. THIS IS DONE BY THE US JOINT COMMISSION FOR INTERNATIONAL de≥s.com, most sought specialists and se≥vices: a≥e cosmetic su≥geons, dentists, ca≥diovascula≥ (angioplasty, CABG, t≥ansplants), o≥thopedics (joint and spine; spo≥ts medicine), oncologists ( cance≥ docto≥ fo≥ often high-acuity o≥ last ≥eso≥t), ≥ep≥oductive (fe≥tility, IVF, women’s health), weight loss (LAP-BAND, gast≥ic bypass) and scans, gene≥al tests, health sc≥eenings and second opinions. The inc≥ease in the numbe≥ of medical t≥avelle≥s leaving Uganda fo≥ fo≥eign destinations has o≠e≥ed investment oppo≥tunities fo≥ medical ent≥ep≥eneu≥s. At Women’s Inte≥national Modern equipment in local hospitals means more patients will seek treatment in the country Hospital and Fe≥tility Cent≥e in Kampala, patients come f≥om Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Malawi, Zambia, Ethiopia, Nige≥ia and othe≥s f≥om ove≥seas who find it compa≥atively cheape≥ to access fe≥tility t≥eatment in Uganda.
Feb 11th 2017
Feb 25th 2017