The island nation is renowned for its beautiful scenery, volcanic mountains, and beaches. Nevertheless, Mauritius is now using medicine as an allurement to draw in investors and visitors. Lerato Mbele of BBC Africa Business Report visited the country and reveals how the magical island’s medical tourism sector is fast developing.
Up until now, the sunbathing, speedboats, and divers are typical sights in the Mauritius coastline bringing in diverse visitors who come from all over Europe and America to enjoy the beaches and climate of the alluring island in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
In the eye of the economic storm that hit the world in 2014, authorities have come to the realization that medical tourism could be a selling point to ease the slowing economy. Ken Poonoosamy, Managing Director of the Mauritius Board of Investment was quoted as saying: “we are diversifying the economy with great resilience. Healthcare education poses to be very promising.”
From contract research and biotechnology to clinical trials, Mauritius want to make use of its first-class hospitals to position itself as a new medical hub where international patients can visit to access quality health care.
The Economic Shift
Over the past decade, such a positive reputation as a destination for medical tourism has seen Mauritius record over 10,000 medical tourists visiting the nation for cosmetic surgery and other major procedures such as cancer therapy, hip replacement, and treatments for several heart conditions.
Foreign investors built the Apollo Bramwell hospital several years ago which may currently seem to be experiencing some financial difficulties because of the turbulent global market, yet this hasn’t stopped the influx of international patients.
Some of the international patients say it is more about convenience. Jerta Hoarew, a tourist-patient from Seychelles who had her surgery in India got the permission of her physician to visit Mauritius hospitals instead of long trips back to India. Such is the high reputation these Mauritian hospitals enjoy.