Uganda seeks investors for medical tourism facilities

 

East African country Uganda is planning to grab a market share of the medical tourism sector by attracting private investors to develop medical facilities.

Medical tourism is a relatively new concept in Uganda and indeed the East Africa region, but has potential. Investment by both the private and public sectors in recent years have seen the establishment of specialist clinics, spas, improved hospital facilities, traditional medicine and better HIV/AIDS management. This has contributed to growth in the niche market.

Professor Maggie Kigozi, executive director at the Uganda Investment Authority says, “ Medical tourism is opening a new frontier for revenue generation in the country. We are working to ensure Uganda is well positioned with facilities that meet the chief drivers of the growing medical tourism market: affordability, high quality and excellent service. Medical tourism, though still young in Uganda, is promising to drive forward both the health care and tourism sectors – thanks to the partnership approach of both the private and public sectors.”

"The main attraction for clients visiting the country are the hot springs such as those at Ihimba, Sempaya, Kitagata, Buranga and Nyamasizi, that are said to have high mineral content. These are suitable locations for investors looking to build rehabilitation clinics and spas. The availability of women's fertility services and advanced HIV/AIDS research and management programmes are other factors drawing patients to the country. But as the country only gets 70,000 visitors a year, the current number of medical tourists is tiny. Herbal medicine has also become an attractive option to patients who prefer to take the “natural” healing route. Uganda’s forests are a granary of herbal medicinal plants. The government plans to regulate the herbal medicine sub-sector to maintain quality and best practice."

According to Bradford Ochieng of the Uganda Investment Authority, Uganda’s medical tourism sector offers the following:

  • Internationally accredited medical facilities using the latest technologies (e.g. open heart surgery and fertility centre).

  • The largest group of dedicated gynaecology and fertility specialists in East and Central Africa, supported by a team of experienced scientists, nurses and counsellors through its Women Hospital International. The fertility centre specializes in In-Vitro Fertilisation, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, laparoscopic surgery, and myomectomy operations.

  • Medical treatment costs are lower than other countries in the region.

  • Fluent English speaking staff.

  • Options for private room, translator, private chef, dedicated staff during your stay and many other tailor made services.

  • An international reference centre for AIDS research, prevention, care and treatment.

Foreign investors require a minimum of US$100,000 in planned investment in order to secure an investment license from the Uganda Investment Authority, whereas for local investors, the minimum planned investment requirement is US$50,000. Local investors may proceed with their investment without licensing with the Uganda Investment Authority. The license is crucial to foreign investors as it is the instrument that legalizes their investment in Uganda.

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