MAURITIUS, BALI: Medical tourism in Mauritius increases dramatically, Bali wants to copy.
Medical tourism to Mauritius has seen a tenfold increase over the past five years with 11,000 medical tourists in 2010. The Island hopes to attract 100,000 a year by 2020.
Medical tourism is gaining momentum in Mauritius with Apollo Bramwell Hospital at Moka, in the centre of the island, attracting custom from overseas. The two-year-old hospital claims to receive between 10 to 15 foreign patients daily, coming from Madagascar, the Comoros and the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, and also from other parts of Africa, India and Europe. Patients are attracted by advertising and a network of doctors in France and the UK who inform prospective clients about the island’s medical tourism programme. These doctors also work there for a few weeks a year.
Clinique du Nord has been treating medical tourists seeking cosmetic surgery for the last 12 years. Challenge Hair Group, a private clinic specialising in hair grafting and other health services, has also been operating for the last 12 years. The clinics are not sure that they want huge numbers of medical tourists. Current ones are attracted by prices lower than at home, but local doctors are wary of diluting the quality of care by allowing low-cost lesser skilled clinics to open just to attract more medical tourists. Medical tourists go to the island come for specific treatments. Mauritius will never be able compete with the low prices offered by India. But it can offer a clean safe healthy environment with experienced doctors.
Gérard Guidi says, “The Hair Grafting Medical Centre launched its speciality centre in Mauritius in 2001. The clinic is part of the Challenge Hair Group that also has centres in France, Canada and Spain. We offer comprehensive hair grafting treatment and holiday packages to patients coming from different parts of the world. Over the years, we have found in Mauritius the perfect business and living environment.” Tony Lingiah of Clinique Pierre Janet adds, “ After an international career I decided to come back to my motherland and set up Clinique Pierre Janet, the island’s first private centre for psychiatric care. It started operating in 2009 and offers psychiatric services including de-toxification and long-term management of chronic conditions. A combination of factors has motivated me to invest in Mauritius, a conducive business environment, availability of skilled labour and potential for Mauritius to attract foreign patients for treatment.”
The Board of Investment (BOI) is content with the tenfold growth in this sector in a five-year period from 2005 to 2010. Medical tourists come from Madagascar (28%), Seychelles (15%) La Reunion (14%), France (14%), South Africa (8%) and the UK (5%). They came mainly for cosmetic surgery, cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, dentistry, in-vitro fertility and hair grafting.
The government of Bali aims to develop the island as a medical tourism destination in a bid to boost tourist arrivals and fund free medical healthcare for poor residents. Governor Made Mangku Pastika said Bali had a great tourism industry, but also untapped potential for medical tourism,“ ‘Considering the huge population in Indonesia and the fact that there are many expatriates in Bali who go abroad to get medical treatment, we should develop the island’s medical tourism. We should make one international standard hospital a tourism hospital.” There is a snag for Bali; first it has to build an international standard hospital. The construction of the hospital will hopefully begin in early 2012, and be complete in 2013.