Medical tourism opens a new frontier

by Luke Anami ,  The Standard | 2009-04-28

Nairobi Hospital is eyeing medical tourism for new revenue, as local competition in private health care gets tougher.

Broadly speaking, medical tourists are people who leave their homes to seek quality treatment, care and rest abroad, or in a neighbouring state, where it is much cheaper.

Most times, the facilities are equal to what they have back home, but the cost is significantly lower — sometimes as much as 80 per cent less — leaving them with enough change to tour the host country, as part of their recuperation.

The chief drivers of medical tourism are price, quality and service.

Nairobi Hospital Chief Executive Officer, Dr Cleopa Mailu, says Kenya has a high potential for medical tourism, and the hospital has the facilities and manpower necessary to pull it off.

He sees this as a way of further diversifying source markets for tourism.

"The Government should liaise with the private sector in order to diversify our tourism products and services," said Dr Mailu.