Medical tourism trends in the CIS in 2016


With the advancement of medical tourism more and more people are getting to know about treatment abroad. Bookimed has conducted an analysis of the market in the Commonwealth of Independent States for 2016.

Which destinations were chosen by patients from the CIS countries? Which specialties were they interested in? Which are the requirements of the CIS market?

What are the benefits of medical tourism to CIS region

In 2016, the most interested people from the CIS countries looking for treatment abroad were from Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. It’s not surprising, as according to the Central Intelligence Agency, Ukraine and the Russian Federation are in the top 10 countries with the highest death rate in 2016, taking the 4th and the 10th places correspondingly.

The interest of the Post-Soviet countries in seeking medical assistance abroad is explained by:

  • Searching for wider treatment options (advanced treatment protocols, high tech diagnostics and treatment, minimally-invasive surgery).
  • Searching for more experienced or qualified doctors.
  • Dissatisfaction with their own medicine (comment by the representative of Russian Academy of Medical Sciences that every third diagnosis is incorrect).
  • Shortcomings of the local health care system e.g. the Ukrainian legislation forbids the donation of organs from cadavers. A similar situation exists in other countries, such as in Uzbekistan where a patient cannot receive an organ from a non-related donor.

Let’s consider some of the countries in more detail.

Statistical data on the Russian Federation and Belarus

These two countries with 57% of the total CIS market, have similar preferred destinations. Both countries preferred Germany and Israel for treatment in 2016. The popularity of Germany in the post-Soviet states is explained by confidence in the quality of care and trustworthiness of the providers.

But, we also know that Germany is an expensive option. That is why people who cannot afford treatment in Germany chose countries like Israel (18% of Russians, 15% of Belarussians). Another destination preferred by patients from Russia in 2016 was South Korea (1%), while patients from Belarus (2%) traveled to neighbouring countries like Poland.

In 2016 most patients from Russia and Belarus went abroad for oncology (the most popular procedure was daVinci surgery), orthopedic, neurosurgery, and ophthalmology treatment.

Statistical data on Ukraine

The chart shows us that Ukrainians prefer Poland, Germany, and Israel. Near to Ukraine, Poland has lower prices than Germany and other European countries with wider options. The most common medical interests were in general check-ups, cancer treatment, orthopedics and plastic surgery, while some had the opportunity of rare, rather unique, treatment in India in the field of transplantology.

Statistical data on Kazakhstan

35% of patients from Kazakhstan went to South Korea, 19% to Turkey, 18% to Germany, 10% to India, 7% to Israel, 2% to USA, and 9 % to other countries.

The most needed medical specialties were cancer treatment, neurosurgery and plastic surgery.

Statistical data on Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan

Patients from the Republic of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have similar treatment preferences and reasons for travel. India is chosen due to its more attractive pricing policy; Turkey, due to a closer affiliation with the Turkish people, having the same origin, language and culture. The most requested specialties were infertility, cancer and neurosurgery.

Statistical data on Azerbaijan

Almost 44% of the Azerbaijani medical tourists chose Turkey in 2016. 29% went to Germany, and only 8% to Israel. United States, Austria, India, and Czech Republic were chosen by 3%, 3%, 2%, and 2% correspondingly.

Oncology, haematology, and neurosurgery were the most required medical specialties.


It’s important to highlight that we have come across some issues within the CIS countries, especially Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. 

Quite often citizens of these countries aimed at getting a visa by invitation from a clinic without any actual need for treatment.

That is why it’s important to collect the complete history of a patient and make sure the intention to access medical services is real, and only then proceed with the treatment.

How to know whether a patient is genuine:

  1. They often have a complete medical record and recommendation from local clinics.
  2. They have a rich travel history.
  3. They have the financial means for covering their treatment.

If you want to know more on the CIS market, leave a comment below and we will provide you with feedback.




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