Tenfold increase in medical tourism: medical tourism to Mauritius has seen a tenfold increase over the past five years and is a welcome addition to its already world-class tourism attractions. About 100,000 foreign patients are expected to visit the island's healthcare facilities by 2020, up from the 11,000 treated last year, writes Nasseem Ackbarally from Port-Louis.

Author:Ackbarally, Nasseem
Position:Mauritius
 
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Medical tourism is gaining momentum in Mauritius with some of the biggest names in healthcare already operating on the island. Samuel Raveloson, who is 77 years old, and his 65-year-old wife Monique are fairly typical health tourists. They flew together from Madagascar last April to the Apollo Bramwell Hospital at Moka, in the centre of the island, to receive treatment.

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He needed a hip replacement and his wife required cataract surgery. "We came to Mauritius because we could not find an appropriate health service in our country We checked on the internet and we found this hospital. We are happy with the service," they told African Business.

Francis Marco Lorenzo, a 33-year-old, also flew to Mauritius around the same time from Seychelles in a private medical plane for neurological treatment. His companion, Nicolas Boulle, said the patient was brought to Mauritius not only because of its competitive price structure "but also because of the excellent treatment offered here".

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Boulle explained: "From referral back home, I understood that apart from having the most hi-tech diagnostic set-up and equipment in the region, this hospital operated in such a manner whereby you don't feel like you are in a medical establishment but more in a hotel."

The two-year-old hospital receives 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 not only by media advertising but also by a network of doctors in France and the UK who inform prospective clients about the island's medical tourism programme. The doctors themselves come to work from time to time.

"The service to foreigners is offered as a package that also includes hotel accommodation and car hire. We take care of them from their home to the hospital and back again," Valerie Rawat, the chief executive of Apollo Bramwell, explains.

Rawat observes that health clinics in Europe are overloaded and the waiting lists are long. "There is also a growing demand for some types of interventions, such as plastic surgery, that patients want to keep confidential," she says. "These people come to Mauritius."

At the Clinique du Nord, Dr Mike Sooknundun has been offering his services to medical tourists for the last 12 years. They come for various services, but mostly for face-lifts, nose jobs and other cosmetic surgery, and for breast...

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