The increase in the number of medical travelers leaving Kenya for foreign destinations has opened a window of investment for entrepreneur nations. Turkey is the latest country looking to gain entry into the Kenyan outbound medical tourism market. Pinar Belendir, a marketing supervisor with Medical Park Hospital Group, said the consortium of 19 hospitals in Turkey is ready to give countries with longer histories of cooperation with Kenya a run for their money.
“The task of carving out a niche is difficult, but by no means impossible,” she said. By no means does Kenya have a monopoly on citizens traveling abroad for healthcare among African nations. Patients from Nigeria, Tanzania and Congo not only routinely travel to India for scheduled health checks, but for life-saving surgeries as well.
Mary Ikasoboh, a Nigerian citizen, first visited the Indian city of Ahmedabad last year, when she accompanied a friend to HCG Multispecialty Hospital for cancer treatment. A witness to her friend’s recovery and return to work, Ikasoboh didn’t think twice when her 56-year-old brother, Michael, suffered from hip injury and enlarged prostate. She called up the hospital in Ahmedabad and booked him for surgery at HCG Multispecialty.
“Pleasant and caring attitude toward the patients begins healing before treatment,” she told The Times of India. “Since advanced medical care is not readily available in our country, coming here (Ahmedabad) for treatment makes sense as we get good treatment at one-fourth the cost as compared to other countries with similar kinds of facilities.”
Dr. Bharat Gadhvi, chief executive officer at HCG, said the hospital has representatives throughout Africa to educate potential patients about cancer, orthopedic, urological, gastrointestinal and cardiac procedures in India.
Ralph King’ara and Millicent Njeri are happy to have traveled to India, where the 24-year-old Kenyan woman was treated for kidney failure and an enlarged heart.