The Ministry of Health has said that Kenya loses more than Sh 10 billion annually to medical tourism on treatment of non-communicable diseases.
This is after it was established that 50 per cent of hospital deaths are as a result of the non-communicable diseases which leave more than 10,000 Kenyans in search of treatment abroad at an average estimated cost of $ 10,000 (Sh 1,000,000).
The Ministry in conjunction with Vision 2030 development programme yesterday reported that the country could lose about 55 million people by 2030 if the government does not address if preventive action is not taken.
Speaking during the forum at a Nairobi hotel yesterday, Senior Deputy Director of Medical Services Dr Patrick Amoth said that the management of the non-communicable diseases abroad is draining the country of the much needed foreign exchange.
Amoth called on the private sector to fill in the gap more specifically halting and reversing the trend I outward bound medical tourists, citing that the Ministry is under constraints due to limited budgetary provisions.
Further, Dr Julius Muia Director General Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat said that promoting Kenya as the hub of medical tourism would require government and private sector’s commitment to achieve the Vision 2030 flagship project.
“Kenya is a rapidly expanding technological hub. Many middle income economies have prioritized quality in provision of healthcare not only because they want their citizens to get the best healthcare but also to attract revenue to their countries,” said Muia.
It was established that 54 per cent of male and 46 per cent of female go abroad in search of medical treatment and that 60 per cent of patients who travel suffer from kidney, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Individuals between the ages of 51 to 60 were found to be the highest seekers of outside treatment. Ages of Kenyans travelling abroad for treatment is: seven per cent for children below age 10, six per cent for age bracket 11-20, seven per cent for age 21-30, 19 per cent for ages 31-40, 26 per cent for ages 41-50, 29 per cent for ages 51-60 and seven per cent to represent ages 61 and above.
Globally, Thailand receives the highest number of medical tourists, about 1.3 million in a year and It is estimated that Thailand generates about $3.7 billion from medical tourism. Malaysia, India and Singapore also receive over 500,000 medical tourists annually. These figures translate to huge income to the host countries and more jobs for their citizens.