Monday, July 20, 2009

Jordan medical tourism: Private sector in talks to attract more patients from Western countries

By Khetam Malkawi, Jordan Times

AMMAN - With Jordan ranking first in the Arab world and among the top 10 in the world as a medical tourism destination, the private health sector is struggling to preserve such a lofty status by attracting patients from new markets.

The Jordan Private Hospitals Association (PHA) has recently launched a marketing plan that is expected to attract more patients to receive treatment in Jordan from the US, Britain and Canada, according to its president, Fawzi Hammouri.

To achieve this goal, the PHA invested in a familiarisation visit that attracted representatives from health sector and insurance companies from the three targeted countries to have a first-hand look at the facilities available in the Kingdom.

“The global financial crisis has hit most of the world's countries, but we are trying to make use of it and attract patients to receive treatment in Jordan through the good quality and fair prices we offer,” Hammouri told the press this weekend.

“Have your surgery in Jordan for 25 per cent or less than you would have to pay in your countries, in addition to the excursions to the Dead Sea and Petra that you will receive as part of the package,” Hammouri said, listing the privileges that a patient from these countries will enjoy by coming to Jordan for surgery .

He added at a press conference held in the presence of a delegation from the three targeted countries that the association is also ready to provide better offers for patients depending on the delegation's recommendations.

“Our customers have three concerns when considering treatment. This includes cost savings, the quality of services and accessibility, all of which are available in the sector in Jordan,” Saroja Mohanasundaram from the US-based medical tourism company , Healthbase , told reporters.

As for accessibility, she said that flying 12 hours from the US to Jordan is not long compared to the 20-hour flights that some American patients take to receive treatment in other countries.

“We are impressed with the high quality of the healthcare system here in Jordan, the physicians, who are well-educated, and the fact that they have English language as a second language and this will make it a better destination for medical tourism ,” Gabriella Vicuna, representative of the Medical Tourism Association in the US, said.

However, despite all the offers to be provided for patients from these countries, the visiting delegation called on the PHA to provide compensation in case of malpractice.

“There are many countries competing with Jordan in this sector,” a representative of a UK-based company said, adding that a patient should be aware of what he will receive in the event of a failed surgery to decide which offer and which country to choose.

The delegation members mentioned that citizens of their countries seek treatment in other countries in the fields of orthopaedics , cardiology , neurology and cancer .

Considered one of the main contributors to the national economy, medical tourism brings in revenues that reach $1 billion annually, and the sector has been witnessing a steady annual increase in foreign patients of around 10 per cent.

A study conducted by the PHA shows that 210,100 patients from 48 countries received treatment in the Kingdom last year, compared to 190,000 in 2007.

Bookmark and Share

No comments: