South Africa seeks support for medical tourism


South Africa is becoming increasingly attractive as a destination for patients seeking treatment abroad, but industry experts believe the government should be doing more to promote the sector.

Dr Tshepo Maaka, managing director of Serokolo Health Tourism, believes that the nation's highly-trained doctors and excellent standard of medical care should enable it to stand out as a medical tourism destination, but feels that there is a lack of support from the Department of Health.

"We need recognition of medical tourism as an industry in South Africa and a process to look at policy formulation for medical treatment of international patients in the country," she said ahead of a medical tourism conference due to be held in Johannesburg later this month.

"We also need the financial support to expose South Africa to the world as a medical tourism destination."

Dr Maaka also said that there were "key lessons" to be learnt from India, where the industry has been "successfully integrated into the mainstream economy".

The forthcoming conference, which will be attended by experts from around the world, will be used to build a business case for the viability of the medical tourism industry.

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