Kenya government plans to launch strategy on medical tourism


Source:  Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua) — The Kenyan government plans to launch a comprehensive strategy to promote medical tourism in October, officials revealed have revealed.

Samuel Were, Head of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) Unit in the ministry of health, said in Nairobi the strategy aims to position the country as a hub for medical tourism.

“We consider medical tourism an essential component to strengthen the country’s health systems.

“Kenya’s health tourism strategy will promote cross border movement of patients seeking specialized medical services,” Were said.

He told delegates attending an East African healthcare conference in Nairobi that Kenya has developed infrastructure and human capital to support growth of medical tourism.

“The strategy we are about to launch will focus on key areas including development of health tourism products, improved transport and communication, security and introduction of a medical visa,” he said.

Kenya earns an estimated 30 million U.S. dollars from 3,000 foreigners who visit the country annually to seek medical services. Likewise, an estimated 10,000 Kenyans spend 100 million dollars on specialized treatment overseas annually.

Were told Xinhua that inadequate budget, poor infrastructure, weak regulatory and accreditation regime have undermined growth of a vibrant medical tourism in Kenya.

“We are also concerned about incoherent pricing policies and insecurity that tend to scare away foreign patients,” Were said, adding that ministries of health, finance, immigration, tourism and foreign affairs have coordinated efforts to oversee the growth of medical tourism.

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