Medical tourism opens a new frontier

 

Kenya is taking initial steps to get a slice of Africa’s medical tourism business.

The 320 –bed Nairobi Hospital is eyeing medical tourism for new revenue, as local competition in private healthcare gets tougher.

Nairobi Hospital chief executive Dr Cleopa Mailu, said Kenya has a high potential for medical tourism and the hospital has the facilities and manpower necessary to pull it off.

“The Government should liaise with the private sector in order to diversify our tourism products and services. Nairobi Hospital has invested heavily in diagnostic and treatment facilities and equipment, as well as on our professional human resources. What is lacking is a policy framework and marketing to tap into one of the world’s fastest growing services. The ball is now in the Government’s hands to take the initiative to tap the sector."

At present, only a handful of tourists come to local hospitals, although the refurbishment of Kenyatta National Hospital has brought patients from nearby countries into Kenya as medical tourists.

The wellness sector is another potential revenue earner for the country. Chale Island is popular among visitors who have their bodies covered with special mud as a form of skin rejuvenation therapy.

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