• Kenya is one of Africa’s top beneficiaries of cross-border travel for medical purposes.
• Experts say a specialised hospital would raise earning through health tourism, which has been very successful in India.
According to 2017 statistics, Kenya receives about 5,000 foreigners annually in search of medical treatment and other related reasons.
However, at the same time, some 10,000 Kenyans go abroad in search of medical treatment annually.
Experts say building a specialised hospital in Kenya will raise earning through health tourism, which has been very successful in India.
In previous interviews, Vision 2030 director general Dr Julius Muia said building specialised hospitals in Kenya will boost earnings through health tourism.
“Kenya could grow its new tourism brand by promoting investment in good medical facilities and introducing specialised care and other medical services,” he said.
Muia cited oncology, nephrology, cardiology and heart procedures, and elective surgical procedures that see 10,000 Kenyans go abroad annually, saying they should be taken into consideration.
A UN report released in 2017 (The Economic Development in Africa Report) showed that Kenya is one of Africa’s top beneficiaries of cross-border travel for medical purposes.
The report, which was released during the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), showed that private health and wellness facilities are setting Kenya apart as one of the key medical tourist destinations of Africa.
The report stated Kenya's health and wellness facilities are wooing hundreds of visitors from neighbouring states and helping to boost Kenya’s tourism industry.
“The medical tourism is marked by African nationals seeking high-end specialised medical services and primary health-care services, increasingly in other African countries,” it read.
Kenya could grow its new tourism brand by promoting investment in good medical facilities and introducing specialised care and other medical servicesVision 2030 director general Dr Julius Muia
LEADING MEDICAL DESTINATIONS
Other countries that were cited in the report as top destinations for European and Africans seeking medical services were Egypt, Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia.
Nyali’s Premier Hospital CEO Dr Fardousa Ahmed said Kenya is better placed to develop medical tourism because of the already big number of tourists.
“Every year, our people travel to India and other countries in search of medical services,” she said.
"At the same time, Kenya receives quite a big number of people coming for medication. We should, therefore, invest in infrastructure and personnel so that we can reap big from this market."
The biggest reason why patients travel to India is for affordable services. But Dr Farduosa believes this is avoidable. At Premier Hospital, she said, they offer surgical services, maternity and cancer care and other general medical equipment. A patient does not need to travel abroad or to Nairobi to access those kinds of services.
“We do not believe that a patient has to travel all the way to Nairobi or abroad for surgery. We have qualified doctors who can handle complex surgeries with the facility,” she said.
Dr Fardousa says Premier Hospital, which is tier-one facility at the Coast, has been built to international standards to attract patients from all over the world.
At the hospital, the management has set up a radiology department with a 16-slice CT Scan, Ultrasound and X-Ray, supported by a state-of-the-art laboratory that offers a wide range of tests in haematology, clinical chemistry, immunochemistry, microbiology among others.
“We offer endoscopy for patients with digestion problems, dialysis for patients with kidney problems and chemotherapy for cancer patients,” she says.
At the facility, which is on an eight-storey building along Links Road in upmarket Nyali area, they have VVIP wards for high-end clients who want privacy.
However, she said they also have normal general wards for patients who cannot afford expensive medication and treatment in other facilities around.
“We are driven by a three-worded philosophy; Compassion, Competence and Care, and so far we have recorded success in surgical services, maternity and cancer care, for the past two years of operations. We want to continue offering the best services to attract more patients,” she said.