Medical tourism a shot in the arm for the Philippines

(AFP) – The Philippines earned an estimated 200 million dollars this year from foreign patients seeking affordable medical services, the health department said. A quarter million people flew into the country this year for cosmetic surgery, eye treatment or get their dentures fixed, said Health Undersecretary Jade del Mundo.

It is the first year of government efforts to promote the Southeast Asian nation as a “medical tourism” site,

The program seeks to offer the Philippines as a destination for health care and tourism where patients can go for rest and recreation while recuperating, De Mundo said.

Low prices of health services and treatment are the main attractions of the Philippines, she told reporters.

A ceramic denture, for instance, can be had for about 1,000 dollars, compared with 8,000 dollars in the United States, she said.

Del Mundo said the government expected medical tourism turnover to be between 300 million and 400 million dollars next year, out of a global health care market valued at some three trillion dollars.

She said the Philippines now ranked just fifth in the business in Asia, with the field also dominated by Thailand, India, Malaysia, and Singapore in that order.

Del Mundo said the government planned to ramp up the business by accrediting more quality hospitals and health care facilities and banking on Filipinos’ “unique” hospitality in taking care of patients.

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