Rwanda intends to embark on medical tourism
Rwanda’s expenses on medical tourism is truly unknown but could be among those that are currently growing with in the East African region, and is aiming at becoming a regional hub of inbound medical tourism.
For example, Uwimana had an eye complication which could not be treated by local eye specialists, therefore recommended a transfer to India or South Africa where one has to pay a lot of money to cater for transport, accommodation and treatment. Cases like Uwimana’s are frequent in East and Central Africa and they are always referred to specialised medical attention abroad.
UP to 100,000 people; medical tourists, go to India for medical treatment from East Africa and the number is increasing by 4% annually.
The acting head of services development section at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Hubert Rutage Ruzibiza, says the institution believes that medical tourism is a new product suitable for developing countries like Rwanda ad can be achievable if priority is given to it.
He further says, it strengthens linkages in the national economy and increases foreign exchange earnings. Medical tourism happens when consumers elect to travel across international borders with the intention of receiving some form of medical treatment.
The country is currently looking out for options to sustain the budding tourism sector that registered high foreign exchange receipts last year, and tapping into medical tourism is one of the catalysts the government is employing.
There has been an increase in the steady health infrastructure mainly boosted by the public and private investments in decent health facilities which include specialised hospitals and state of the art medical equipment to boost medical tourism.
Ruler Faisal hospital, Rwanda’s advancing state-possessed social insurance supplier, has foreign made state of the craftsmanship supplies, for example Computed Tomography (Ct) scanner framework, Magnetic Resource Imaging (Mri) frameworks, and other propelled imaging machines that may furnish better health awareness for patients.
This sort of speculation has expedited an universal accreditation of King Faisall hospital which is at present laying the ground to get a local referral hospital in the East African area.
“Such speculations have improved our neighborhood solid part and this implies that Rwanda will win more outside trade from patients from the neighboring nations like Burundi, Drc, Uganda and others,” says Ruzibiza.
Statistics from King Faisal Hospital demonstrate that in 2012 distant from everyone else the hospital appropriated 3,755 remote patients from over the district and Drc sent the most amazing number with 1,850.
As of late, a different specialized remote hospital opened in Rwanda to furnish eye medicine over the district. Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital from India is the first remote pro station in Rwanda, which is unavoidably set to get a local eye referral focus.
Dr. John Nkurikiye, a consultant ophthalmologist at Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital, says that the facility is well equipped with state of the art technology for performing surgeries related to cataract, retina, Glaucoma and other eye ailments with techniques matching the international standards comparable with Europe and South Africa.
“These facilities and services are currently in Rwanda for the first time,” says Dr. Nkurikiye.
“Dr Agarwal’s eye hospital is aimed to be the centre of excellence in the field of ophthalmology, fulfilling the need for advanced eye care services of the Rwandan and people from neighboring countries.”
Setting up the hospital in Kigali has so far consumed over US$2 million and more investments are in the pipeline to ensure that the facility delivers the state of the art eye treatment to the regional patients.
Ruzibiza says that boosting medical tourism in Rwanda “is also an added advantage for citizens as they are to enjoy reduced cost, the availability of latest medical technologies, and a growing compliance of international quality standards.”
Dr Nkurikiye says that medical tourists generally pay higher, out-of-pocket rates than local patients and also offer the prospect of spending tourism dollars on hotels, meals and even tours and entertainment for themselves and family members.
Dr. Nkurikiye acknowledges that Rwanda could become a tourism hub only if it has world-class medical facilities, which would be difficult without the participation of private entities.
He says that Rwanda is in a good location in terms of climate, the security and quiet environment, which patients need when going through the healing process.
Rwanda’s tourism is a leading foreign exchange earner for many years. Last year, it registered strong performance compared to 2011 as the revenue generated increased by 17% to US$281.8 million compared to US$251.3 million in 2011.