Nigeria’s shortage of doctors led to growth of outbound medical tourism

Nigeria has 350 Orthopaedic surgeons to meet the needs of 170 million Nigerians, Mike Ogirima, National President, Nigerian Orthopaedic Association (NOA), has said.
The international standard is one orthopedic surgeon to 200,000 people. But Nigeria’s ratio is one surgeon to nearly 500,000 people.
Mr. Ogirima made the remark on Saturday in Abuja at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the association with the theme, “Sub specialisation in orthopaedic surgery: The way forward.’’
The production of these professionals, Mr. Ogirima noted, would check the “burden of care of the surging orthopaedic patients that are most often abused by obsolete traditional practitioners.’’
The president described the number of orthopaedics surgeons being trained in Nigeria as “grossly inadequate”.
He urged the Federal Government to sponsor more orthopaedic surgeons for post fellowship programmes to ensure competitive and quality healthcare services for the populace.
According to him, the training of more Orthopaedics specialists in various branches of the profession would boost their skill and manpower requirement and stem the trend of medical tourism.
“We need to train more experts in the care of the injured and we call on the government to sponsor surgeons for post fellowship programmes and equip hospitals to offer quality services to patients.

Dubai’s New $200million Hospital

The $200m King’s College Hospital under construction in Dubai will seek to reduce the number of Gulf nationals travelling outside of the region for treatment and medical training, its chief executive has said.

The 100-bed facility is due to open in 2018 at Dubai Hills within Mohammed bin Rashid City under a joint venture between Al Tayer Group Dubai Investments and UK-based Ashmore Group.

“There is still a large amount of medical tourism out of the region, the GCC as a whole but particularly the UAE, and therefore there is an opportunity for us to provide elements of care here to minimise that amount of travel,” Neil Buckley, the recently appointed CEO told Gulf Business.

“That would save the government here a significant amount of money and provide better care for patients because they can get it closer to home.”

The hospital is planned to be one of the first in the region to provide liver transplants for living related patients, a procedure for which King’s London has seen a “significant number” of patients from Gulf countries.

It will also target medical tourists from the Gulf region, North Africa and further afield, said Buckley, who revealed talks are taking place with government health portal Dubai Health Experience with plans to match “the clinical excellence of King’s with five-star service”.

The facility could also add an academic element, in cooperation with the King’s teaching hospital in London.

Buckley said he was in talks with Dubai Health Authority and would meet the UK’s Royal College of Surgeons with an eye on opening a training hub in the region.

Simon Fraser, medical director of King’s College Hospital London, Dubai, said this could eventually mean medical students in the region would not have to apply for fellowships abroad to complete their training.

“If our project is a success there is the chance that in certain fields we might be able to complete that training even in the country, or at least some of it, and provide the specialist experience they seek by going elsewhere. So there is an opportunity there for us.”

Joining the new hospital will be two Dubai-based clinics, opening on Jumeirah Beach Road and in Dubai Marina in September 2017 and March 2018 respectively.

They will add to the existing King’s College Medical and Surgery Centre that opened in Abu Dhabi in 2014.

Buckley revealed if the hospital proves successful a second phase would add another 100 beds, further expansion also possible at the Abu Dhabi facility.

“Our aim is to have a minimum of 30 per cent of our staff UK trained but it is going to be a challenge,” he added. “It’s a big deal to make people move country but being a start-up helps as well, we’re starting to attract a lot of people excited by the adventure.”

UAE’s Medical Tourism Industry to earn $700 million annually by 2020

UAE is targeting 50000 Medical Tourist Annually so as to earn $770 million by 2020.The Medical Tourism is on growth in UAE with many patients coming from Asian Countries and rest from other gulf countries  according to the data given by Dubai Healthcare Authority.

Dubai Healthcare Authority is making efforts to increase the Medical Tourists footfalls in the country.


Global Medical Tourism Industry to reach $3trillion by 2025


Over the next 10 years, expect to see a 25-percent annual increase in medical tourism spending as more patients — sometimes with support from their employers — travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to get better and cheaper care.

About 14 million people each year travel abroad in search of more affordable medical care and spend about $45.5 billion for it, according to a recent report by Visa and Oxford Economics that analyzed billions of the credit card company’s transactions by spending category. They calculated that the market will grow by 25 percent annually to reach to some $3 trillion by 2025, and estimate 3 percent to 4 percent of the world’s population will become medical travelers.

The researchers say they believe “medical tourism is primed for accelerated growth as more of . . . older travelers [65 and older] seek new treatments, as well as lower cost or higher-quality care not available in their home country.” By examining cross-border spending for medical services in more than 176 countries, they found that the United States was the single largest hub for medical tourism, with Thailand, Singapore, Germany, Korea and Spain “quickly catching up, increasingly attracting visitors from around the world.”

In some cases, procedures and travel expenses can be under 25 percent of local medical facilities’ costs. Patients also benefit because high-volume locations mean more efficient procedures, more evidence-based approaches, fewer complications, and better overall outcomes, says Ralph Judah, managing director for Monitor Deloitte’s Leader Health Plan Global Markets.

In recent years, dozens of large companies — including GE, Walmart, Lowes, Pepsi and Intel — have explored medical tourism in their self-funded healthcare programs. Expect to see the trend filtering down to other large and even to mid-sized companies, says Jonathan Edelheit, chief executive officer of the Employer Healthcare & Benefits Congress and the Medical Tourism Association, based in West Palm Beach, Fla., and president of the Health Care Reform Center & Policy Institute.

While U.S. employees and HR advisors readily see the benefits of having a procedure done at a center of excellence such as the Cleveland Clinic, Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and other high-reputation medical centers, the tough part has been to convince them of international medical tourism’s benefits, Judah says.

“There continues to be reticence on the part of the U.S. workforce based on nothing in particular,” he says. “There’s a great deal of . . . irrational fear, and [people in] the benefits department in particular are very leery of putting [the medical-tourism] proposition to their [employees.] The last thing that a benefits department [wants] is for somebody who they sent to Panama to come back with two left legs, and that irrationality spreads into the HR community, to some degree.”

The best medical-tourism programs share several features, says Harvard Law Professor I. Glenn Cohen, such as compliance with U.S. laws, adequate medical malpractice insurance coverage, arbitration agreements, accreditation from healthcare quality review organizations such as Joint Commission International, and dedicated lines of communication between physicians in the home and destination areas.

It’s also important, Cohen says, for finding a good cultural and legal/ethical “fit” when matching some people — women or gay patients, for example — to an international or even a domestic religious-based hospital or clinic that supports their reproductive or civil rights.

There’s also some self-selection of patients going on, depending on the country or culture they’re going to for their procedures, says Edelheit. Puerto Rico, for example, appeals to U.S. residents because they don’t need a passport, the medical facilities are automatically subject to the same legal liability system, and both English and Spanish-speaking patients will feel comfortable — plus, you could save about 60 percent to 70 percent on costs.
Transparency is another critical feature, says Aamir Rehman, M.D., partner and senior clinical and total health management strategy consultant in Mercer’s Chicago office. He says companies should look for transparency about the quality of care, what is covered for the price, and whether the destination provider has a reputation for performing the appropriate procedures for patients.

Companies should also analyze their own anonymized healthcare data to track the quality and cost of healthcare providers, Rehman says.

While it’s still a challenge to educate patients about medical tourism’s overall benefits, Edelheit says, a bigger problem is connecting the foreign hospital or clinic to domestic medical-information systems for transferring medical records and reporting back on results and prognoses.

Creating those connections is “in its infancy stage,” he says, adding that it could take one to two years to develop the technology interface to make the sharing of medical information more efficient.

The Affordable Care Act has contributed to the increasing popularity of medical tourism and centers of excellence because insurers developed “skinny networks” to keep costs down, Judah says. These programs limit the number of options to best-priced in-network providers and so when people want to go outside the network, there’s an added incentive to seek affordable medical services. Advisory services, online resources, and some insurance companies are making cost and outcomes more transparent.

“Even if it’s normal coverage,” says Judah, “it is increasingly coming out of your own pocket, so with the combination of co-pays and deductibles, the out-of-pocket proportion of total health costs has risen up into the 20-percent range. There is a lot of comparison-shopping going on.”

India to occupy major portion of Wellness Tourism

India’s health and wellness tourism industry has become one of the most lucrative markets in the world. The country’s health and wellness tourism industry is expected to generate revenues of Rs. 315,497 milion by the end of this year – a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.6% over the forecast period (2012–2016). According to Global Wellness Institute, wellness tourism is a massive $563 billion industry worldwide within the $3.72 trillion global tourism industry, a 10.6% growth from 2013-2015.

Ayurveda and Yoga is a 2000-year old science that has time and again proven to be effective with its use of natural herbs and individualized treatments that are prescribed according to one’s body type.

Together with Yoga and Meditation, the demand for traditional Indian wellness programs continue to grow, thanks to its global reach and the various initiatives put forth by the Indian government to – simplify visa processes, improve and authenticate Ayurvedic and Yoga centers with AYUSH certification and encourage insurance coverage for many Ayurvedic treatments today. Increasing the e-Tourist Visa (e-TV) scheme to 150 countries has also witnessed a surge in the number of tourists arriving on e-Tourist Visa to 36,982 by June 2016. It’s a roller coaster ride ahead as the country is expected to be the fastest growing nation in wellness tourism in the next five years, with over 20 per cent gain annually through 2017**.
While some travelers plan their travel around wellness activities — spas, health resorts, yoga retreats (also known as secondary wellness travelers) many travel with the primary purpose of wellness (also known as primary wellness traveler). With better awareness, interest for Ayurveda as the preferred choice of treatment, not only for stress and general wellness but also for more serious conditions like Arthritis, Diabetes, Rheumatism, Parkinson’s among others, is on the rise. Ayurveda’s concept of addressing and treating the root cause of the disease versus addressing the symptoms, using all natural herbs has made it the preferred choice for many. Treatments like Panchakarma are globally recognized as the most “effective detox” programs, as it is specifically designed to suit individual requirements than take a one-size-fits-all approach.


Srilanka to promote Medical Tourism

Sri Lanka is seeking international medical tourism certification for health and wellness providers and agencies countrywide to maintain highest standards in medical/healthcare tourism and prevent unacceptable practices tarnishing the image of the country, Export Development Board officials said.

The appropriate legislation is to be introduced to regulate the industry, they added.

The Medical Travel Quality Alliance based in Thailand has been assigned by the EDB to evaluate the quality standard and award international certification for Sri Lankan Health/Medical Tourism Services Providers such as Hospitals/Clinics/Ayurvedic Hospitals/Hotels/Spas.

MTQUA President Julie Munro, who arrived in the island on Monday morning, told the Business Times, “medical tourism certification is awarded to a hospital, clinic or medical tourism agency that meets the international standard of quality in 10 areas that directly impact a medical tourist’s wellbeing and good results”.

“Medical tourists are traveling to get better, not to get frustrated, or cheated,” she said adding that “they need extra care, services and consideration, and trust their hospital or agent to deliver health services.”

Lanka Hospitals has become Sri Lanka’s first health care provider to achieve international medical tourism certification from the Medical Travel Quality Alliance (MTQUA), she disclosed.

Lanka Hospitals has undergone an evaluation for several months that included in-depth interviews and a formal review of its operations, processes and procedures against international standards of quality in 10 non-clinical areas that directly influence a medical traveller’s wellbeing and outcomes, she revealed

Jamaica to Promote Medical Tourism

Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, her Excellency Audrey Marks, is urging the Jamaican Diaspora to take full advantage of the myriad of investment opportunities now available in Jamaica.

“Others around the world are having tremendous success with their investments in Jamaica. It is now time to formalize an investment pipeline with you, our own Diaspora, especially as we seek to empower Jamaicans at home and abroad as a part of the commonwealth of Jamaica,” she said.

Ambassador Marks was delivering the keynote address at the new Jersey-based Help Jamaica Medical Mission’s 6th Annual Black Tie affair at Hanover manor in East Hanover, New Jersey on Saturday, November 12, 2016

Ambassador Marks pointed to the lucrative investment opportunities in medical tourism, the nutraceutical industry and in particular medical marijuana. “These are just a few of the investment opportunities available for members of the diaspora”.

Ambassador Marks told the over 500 Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica in attendance that medical tourism is a billion dollar business. In 2014, medical tourism estimated to be valued at US$59 billion with an estimated 10 million people traveling for medical treatment. Of that amount, 1.2 million are US citizens.

“Jamaica is ideally situated to serve both insured and uninsured markets. Tourists and outpatients prefer to be in more temperate climate as they recuperate,” the ambassador said.

She added that .the Ministry of Tourism and Jamaica Promotions Company (JAMPRO) have been leading the initiative to attract investors to medical tourism in Jamaica.

The private sector in Jamaica have excess capacity to meet the growing demand, but they need partners and “so I urge you members of the Diaspora, as well as those friends of Jamaica here who are involved in the medical field, to look at investing in medical tourism in Jamaica.”

She said areas of primary focus at this time are: surgical procedures, dentistry and medical diagnostics. She added that there are also areas of collaboration with private doctors in Jamaica looking for counterparts in the United States to refer their clients for certain follow up treatments.

Turning to the medical marijuana industry, Ambassador Marks said this will certainly boost Jamaica’s economy. In 2013, she said, the

medical marijuana market was valued at US$2.5 billion, with an expectation that by 2019, it will reach US$11 billion.

The ambassador pointed out that in order for the industry to develop properly in Jamaica, with the appropriate infrastructure and mechanism to meet national and international standards, the government has established the Cannabis Licensing Authority, which is working in tandem with relevant ministries and legal departments to make sure that all standards are met.

“In this regards, persons who wish to invest or participate in this program, will be required to apply for the requisite license or permit through the Canabis Licensing Authority.”

She said overseas investors have been eagerly knocking at the door to get into this lucrative industry.

“This is a opportunity for potential investors here in the diaspora who can, among other things, partner with small farmers who have lands available but no financial resources to apply for the requisite license or permit needed to participate in this program.