Public-Private Partnership Is Key In Promoting Medical Tourism In Kenya

The public-private partnership has been Identified as one of the key plays that will ensure Kenya achieves  vision 2030 goals of a Kenya that will be on the global map for provision of quality and affordable health care.

The Director General – Vision 2030 Dr. Julius Muia, who was speaking at the Health and Medical Tourism Forum held at the Raddison Hotel, Upperhill Nairobi, noted that appreciation of the strategic policies put in place for the realization of vision 2030 will promote the provision of good health services.

It was noted that approximately 10,000 Kenyans travel abroad for health related reasons and spend between KES. 7-10 Billion yearly with a vast majority traveling to India.

The common services that these Kenyans go out to look for are Oncology, Nephrology, Cardiology and heart procedures, and elective surgical procedures. But while the quality of services is important; the main driver for outbound health tourism is the cost of accessing health services in Kenya.

According to Dr. Patrick Amoth who gave the keynote address on behalf of Health Cabinet Secretary Dr. Cleopa Mailu one major reason why Kenyans seek treatment abroad is the poor management of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and poor funding.

“Access to good health services is constrained by the little budgetary allocation we receive in the ministry and this call for us to share more on how we can expand on our infrastructure,” said Amoth.

He however, noted that the ministry of health is making strides towards improving Human Resource and Infrastructure with a framework being developed to make Kenya a medical tourism destination hub; as well as creation of employment in specialized medical care .

He also added that medical tourism offers a good opportunity to substitute for when travel advisories are issued.

The Kenya Healthcare Federation chairman Dr. Amit N. Thakker who spoke on Private sector engagement said that the private health sector contributes little to the economy due to issues relating to Quality of health services, the system, the Human capital in the country, Financing, the cost of services and the Regulations in place.

“The quality is in question because of cases of counterfeit drugs and unlicensed practitioners. Sometimes there are no equipments to run procedures.” He said.

He noted that there is little coordination between involved sectors and they need to come together to be able realize the potential in medical tourism in Kenya.