In a special report on medical tourism published by the Department of Tourism(DOT) in “Balikbayan”, the Philippines was ranked in 2015 as eighth among the top medical tourism destinations in the world, according to a list compiled by the International Healthcare Research Center and the Medical Tourism Association (MTA), a global nonprofit association for medical tourism and international patient industry which represents healthcare providers, governments, insurance companies, employers and other buyers of health care.
The MTA index ranked the top 7 medical destinations, providing the most suitable economic, secure and cultural environment and acceptable health-care cost as follows: Canada (first), the United Kingdom (second), Israel (third), Singapore (fourth), Costa Rica (fifth), Italy (sixth) and Germany (seventh).
Although the Philippines is ranked eighth, the DOT Director of Medical Travel and Wellness Tourism Cynthia C. Lazo expounds that the Philippines is the “rising epicenter of medical tourism.” Over $200 million is now generated from the medical tourism industry alone and continues to grow exponentially every year. To date, medical tourism in the Philippines cares to approximately 80,000 to 250,000 patients or clients annually, with 62 hospitals around the country now internationally accredited. Clients come from East Asia (China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan), Sri Lanka, the Pacific Islands (Guam, Palau, Marshall Islands and Micronesia), Australia, North and South America, Europe and the UK and the Gulf States, Filipino expats and overseas Filipino workers, likewise prefer to have their medical procedures done in the country.
In a 2014 study by renowned medical tourism author, Ian Youngman, the global health and wellness tourism market is worth $438.6 billon. Philippine medical tourism was able to generate $66 million and $145 million for 2013 and 2014, respectively. Among the factors cited in the survey include competitive price of health and wellness services, the warm hospitality and compassion that Filipinos are known for, high standards of health care provided in internationally accredited hospitals by well-educated and English-speaking health-care professionals. The country’s proximity to major international hubs and its tropical climate also a boon to medical travelers, encouraging healing and relaxation after medical procedures.
A cost analysis (Philippines versus the United States) indicate that the Philippines offers a wide range of high-quality services at just a fraction of the cost compared to those in North America and Europe—ranging upward of 50-percent to 80-percent cheaper. Consider:
It puzzles me that, while foreigners have specificaly come to the Philippines to undergo medical treatments, still a considerable number of affluent Filipinos travel to the US, Europe and even Singapore for their medical, health-care and wellness concerns. Vestiges of colonial mentality?
With sufficient government support and publicity, payment of the appropriate salaries to our doctors, nurses and medical practitioners to stop the brain drain, improvement in the state of the art health care that patients deserve, investment in cutting-edge technology, the Philippines can and will be the destination place for medical treatment not only in Asia but worldwide.
Proud to be Filipino!