Top 5 Countries For Medical TourismPosted on 2018-02-19
Healthcare is a basic human but it is also very costly. Living in a developing country such as Kenya brings with it challenges as far as healthcare is concerned.
To put that into context, consider this. Much as the government is working hard to ensure that our hospitals are well equipped, the fact is that we have a long way to go. People travel from all over the country to go to the one public referral hospital, Kenyan National Hospital (KNH) in the country to seek treatment for ailments such as cancer. The government has set national medical insurance in Kenya as a top priority for the next five years.
Though private hospitals are an option, they are too expensive for the everyday Kenyan, this leaves KNH to mostly deal with this long list of patients.
Because of this people have in the recent past opted to travel abroad for treatment of different illnesses. This phenomenon has been given a name, medical tourism where one travels to another country for medical care that is relatively cheaper with better facilities than back home.
An estimated 10,000 Kenyans travel abroad each year in search of various forms of treatments according to a recent News report. It is estimated that those who do seek treatment abroad will spend and approximate amount of between KSh 184,000 to KSh 368,000 per visit. Health care at top facilities in Kenya has become so expensive that most health insurance companies in Kenya find it cheaper to send patients abroad for treatment.
Over time, there are countries that have cut a niche for themselves in the medical tourism field and here is a list of the top five to consider just in case you need to seek treatment abroad:
This has got to be the most popular medical tourist destinations not only for Kenyans but also for other African countries.
The reason it is such a hot spot is because it boasts of great infrastructure, technology and well trained doctors. The cost of treatment here is said to be much lower than in other countries which are at per with India as far as healthcare is concerned.
Kidney transplant in India is estimated to cost about Sh1.3 million but the same procedure in the US will cost you an estimated Sh30 million.
India is also a top destination because they are known for immediate treatment. You do not have to wait to for months to say see a doctor because the waiting list is long.
India has 28 Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited hospitals. The JCI accreditation is considered the gold standard in global health care. Most health insurance quotes in Kenya will include a facility for overseas treatment where the insurance company has pre set agreements in India.
Malaysia has over the years grown steadily in positioning itself as medical tourism destination. Cheaper healthcare, a good transportation system, reasonably priced hotel rooms and airlines from all over the world are some of the reasons why this country is a hot spot.
Just to give you an idea of how much it would be to get treated in Malaysia as say compared to the US; a heart bypass in Malaysia will cost you about USD 9,000 (Sh918,000) as compared to USD 130,000 (Sh132, 260,000) in the US.
In a bid to give them an edge, some of Malaysia’s hospitals have entire wings dedicated to medical tourists and have translators for 22 different languages just in case you get there and there is a language barrier.
Malaysia has 11 JCI accredited hospitals.
Singapore is one of the countries that is known for carrying out complicated surgeries such as heart surgeries.
Why Singapore is a great destination for medical tourists is not only its relatively cheap healthcare but also its great medical infrastructure, easy visa availability, good airport connectivity but also the fact that is one of the safest countries in the world having been ranked sixth place by Travel + Leisure.
As far as its medical infrastructure is concerned, Singapore has been ranked sixth place out of the 191 countries considered to have advanced healthcare systems.
For cost comparison purposes, a spinal fusion- surgery to join two or more vertebrae into one single structure. The goal is to stop movement between the two bones and prevent back pain- costs approximately USD 9,000 (Sh918,000) in Singapore while the same surgery will cost you approximately USD 62,000 (Sh6,324,000) in the US.
There are 10 JCI accredited hospitals.
Thailand is not only popular to tourist for its culture but also for its low cost healthcare, facilities that are internationally accredited and outstanding hospitality services.
Thailand is actually ranked among the top 50 best healthcare systems in the world by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Apart from the low cost of treatment, Thailand also offers medical tourists packages that include recuperation in a holiday resort.
A spinal fusion in Thailand will cost USD 7,000 (Sh714,000) while the same procedure will cost you USD 62,000 (Sh6,324,000) in the US.
Thailand has 42 JCI accredited hospitals which is the highest internationally accredited facilities.
Mexico is renowned for low cost health care and it is for that reason that it is on this list. The country boasts of well-trained doctors and modern hospitals and though it only has about 4 JCI accredited hospitals, it has become a destination for medical tourists.
A spinal fusion here will cost about USD 8,000 (Sh816,000) while the same procedure will cost you USD 62,000 (Sh6,324,000) in the US. It is for this reason that most Americans travel to Mexico for medical procedures and medications. Most medical insurance plans in the USA can only cover a portion of the health care costs leaving many people in medical debt in the US.
One thing that is worth mentioning is that though medical tourism has opened a whole new frontier for quality low cost healthcare, there are disadvantages.
For example, if you do consider to travel abroad for healthcare, make sure you do your research on the place you intend to visit. Some of the things to cover include your accommodation, is the facility you are going to accredited-less qualified facilities are taking advantage of the industry-, is the city you are visiting safe, are the doctors qualified to treat your specific ailment among other issues.
It is advisable to visit your medical destination of choice before-hand to visit the facility where you will seek treatment, talk to your doctor about the specifics of your travel and maybe even organize for your accommodation. All we are saying is, be safe as you seek treatment.