Medical tourism at the Coast is gaining popularity as players in the sector shift focus to multimillion healthcare investments to help reduce outbound medical tourism that has seen thousands of Kenyans seek specialised treatment abroad.
An estimated 10,000 Kenyans travel abroad annually, spending close to Sh10 billion in foreign exchange in specialised treatment for ailments such as cancer and kidney. Related expenses include air tickets and accommodation for both patients and their caretakers.
Such numbers are set to decline courtesy of a Sh1.02 billion (US $10 million) state-of–the-art premier hospital which has opened its doors at Nyali in Mombasa — Kenya’s main tourism destination.
Addressing doctors in Mombasa, Premier Hospital executive director Dr Fardosa Ahmed said the facility aims at positioning Kenya as a destination hub for specialised healthcare services by attracting both Kenyan and international clients to stem the rising tide of outboard medical tourism. “We are partnering with various consultants and are seeking partners to give the best healthcare.
We are located in a tourism town, which will help us reduce the need for patients to travel abroad,” said Dr Ahmed. Situated along Links Road in Nyali, the facility has a dedicated paediatric outpatient centre, suites for surgery, cardiology, orthopaedics, women, oncology, sessional specialty, dialysis, day chemotherapy, a minor theatre, day surgery and endoscopy suite.
World Bank statistics for 2015 indicate that Africa is losing over $1 billion (approximately Sh1 trillion) annually to medical travel abroad. In Kenya, patients seek treatment abroad for the management of non-communicable diseases conditions, which are on the rise.