In 2012, the global medical tourism market was estimated to be worth $10.5 billion. By 2019, its projected growth is $32.5 billion. When it comes to traveling for healthcare, the country on the receiving end flourishes as incoming international patients pump its economy.
Outbound medical tourism allows patients to travel abroad for their medical treatment if their own country is not well equipped to handle the procedures. It also encourages the native country to improve its healthcare facilities to be able to establish medical tourism industry as a means of generating revenue. And this is what is happening in Africa.
Outbound Medical Tourism Figures in Africa
Nigeria is Africa’s leading country from where medical tourists are traveling abroad and one of the biggest sufferers of medical tourism in the whole world. In 2012, 47% of Nigerians who went to India were medical tourists. That makes a collective of 18,000 people who spent $260 million in mere foreign exchange. 5000 Nigerians seek treatment abroad every month and that results in a loss of N78 billion annually and medical tourism to India accounts for half of this cost.
India’s medical tourism revenue is $3 billion and African countries contribute 32% to it. That translates to a whopping $960 million that Africa loses. Improving healthcare in African countries can prevent this. Middle-class Nigerians prefer Middle East as their healthcare destination and the richest either go to the United States or Western Europe. An average Nigerian medical tourist spends approximately $20,000 to $40,000 on medical travel.
Apart from Nigeria, outbound medical tourism in Africa also originates from Kenya. According to Kenya Bureau of Statistics, about 100,000 patients leave Kenya every year for better healthcare facilities. 60% of these medical tourists choose India, 3% go to Thailand, 7% USA and 5% visit UK.
Services that are generally sought by Africans abroad include:
- Oncology (37%)
- Renal related care (21%)
- Cardiology and heart related procedures (19%)
- Elective surgical procedures (23%)
Reasons for Outbound Medical Tourism in Africa
Outbound medical tourists from Africa travel largely for quality healthcare rather than cost-effective healthcare. Moreover, Nigeria has allocated only 5.7% of its annual budget on the health sector that explains its dismal state of medical facilities. Regarding overall health service input, Nigeria has only 4 doctors per 10,000 people. If Nigerians could be treated locally, the country can save the cost that it loses annually due to outbound medical tourism.
Opportunities for Medical Facilitators
There is a lot of potential for medical tourism in Africa. International clinics can form a membership with Medical Tourism Business to gain access to patients as well as medical tourism agencies who will direct the patients to member clinics. This will allow you to enjoy an influx of international patients from African countries seeking treatment abroad.