Jamaica as a Health Tourism Destination: Pipe Dream or Opportunity - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Jamaica as a Health Tourism Destination: Pipe Dream or Opportunity


All medical specialties involved and dentistry as well ... Dentistry. Refractive surgery. Countries seriously involved. United States. Canada. Costa Rica ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Jamaica as a Health Tourism Destination: Pipe Dream or Opportunity

Jamaica as a Health Tourism Destination Pipe
Dream or Opportunity
  • Jeffrey East
  • Consultant General Surgeon
  • Cornwall Regional Hospital
  • Montego Bay Hospital
  • MoBay Hope Medical Center

  • Traveling across international borders to obtain
    health care
  • may or may not include leisure
  • aspects typically associated with
  • tourism

  • Dates back thousands of years to when pilgrims
    traveled to Epidauria in the Saronic Gulf of
    Greece to a sanctuary of the healing god
    Asklepios (of Greek mythology)
  • All medical specialties involved and dentistry as
  • Until recently, provider and patient used
    informal channels of communication
  • Evolving into a much more formal, organized

Why health tourism?
  • High cost of health care in US
  • Long waiting times for certain procedures in UK,
    Canada, Europe, etc
  • Ease and relative affordability of international
    air travel
  • Improvements in both technology and standards of
    care in many developing countries
  • Unavailability of treatment in home country
  • Bragging rights

Procedures in greatest demand
  • Knee/hip replacement
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Coronary artery bypass
  • Organ transplantation
  • Dentistry
  • Refractive surgery

Countries seriously involved
  • United States
  • Canada
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominican republic
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Brazil
  • Argentina

Countries seriously involved
  • Colombia
  • Uruguay
  • Hong Kong
  • China
  • India
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Philippines

Countries seriously involved
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Germany
  • Malta
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • Israel
  • South Africa

Jamaica currently
  • Very little evidence of non-Jamaicans traveling
    here specifically for health care
  • Most are Jamaicans living abroad

Problems with Jamaica
  • Violence
  • Inadequately equipped public and private
  • Consultants lack adequate experience (case rate)
    required for safe performance of some of the
    procedures in greatest demand (eg, renal
    transplant, coronary artery bypass, joint
  • Unavailability of some of these procedures in
    public hospitals (creating problem with
    acceptance of the trade by Jamaicans).

The Way Forward
  • All non-cosmetic procedures available to medical
    tourists must be available to the local populace
    in public hospitals, otherwise the public will
    not support the trade this is also the only way
    to guarantee that consultants achieve adequate
    case numbers and rate
  • Addition of private wings to public hospitals and
    expansion of private hospital capacity the trade
    should not compete with locals for public
    hospital facilities
  • Major upgrade of equipment in public and private
    hospitals major cost

The Way Forward
  • Acquisition of cutting edge equipment not
    currently present on the island major cost
  • (Can we afford this kind of investment and
    still remain competitive with destinations like
    India, Colombia and Cuba?)
  • Seek International Accreditation for all health
    care facilities participating (main accreditors
    are the Joint Commission International in the USA
    and Trent International Accreditation Scheme in
    the UK. The ISO also accredits hospital

The Way Forward
  • Establish relationships with major Health Tourism
    Providers (similar to traditional Tour Operators)
    who act as intermediaries between clients and
    providers provide limited advertising and
  • Market in the various Diaspora associations
  • Establish a legal framework for speedy
    adjudication of malpractice lawsuits.

Can we compete?
  • Comparative cost of procedures (cost for India
    may include airfare and brief vacation package)
  • USA
    India SA
  • Heart valve replacement 200,000 10,000 (India)
  • Cor Artery Bypass 130,000 10,000
  • Liver transplant 450,000 58,000
  • Dental bridge 5,500
    500 (India)
  • Lasik 3,700
    730 (India)
  • Facelift 20,000
    1,250 (SA)
  • Knee replacement 50,000

Personal Opinion
  • It is certainly possible for individual private
    hospitals and private wings (eg Tony Thwaites
    wing) to seriously offer Health Tourism as a
    service for an admittedly very limited list of
  • As for Jamaica in general as a Health Tourism
    destination, we have a very, very long way to go
    major effort will have to be made to upgrade
    the services in public hospitals only when the
    quality and range of services offered in public
    hospitals achieves internationally acceptable
    levels will we be able to compete with current
    destinations AND only then will Jamaicans accept
    the trade.
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