Kenya's cut a niche for itself as one of Africa's top medical tourism destination

The country’s low-cost but quality health and wellness facilities strategically scattered across the country is wooing hundreds of visitors.

Kenya receives millions of tourists every year who jet into the country to admire several flora and fauna found in the country.

The country has however also been receiving a different crop of tourists attracted by Kenya's favorable weather conditions not to mention pocket friendly costs among other things.

Kenya has slowly but surely over the years asserted itself as one of the continent’s most reputable medical tourism destination.

The Economic Development in Africa Report 2017 released by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) last week shows Kenya is one of Africa’s top beneficiaries of cross-border travel for medical purposes.

The country’s low-cost but quality health and wellness facilities strategically scattered across the country is wooing hundreds of visitors from neighbouring countries and boosting the tourism industry in the process.

“The medical tourism is marked by African nationals seeking high-end specialised medical services and primary health-care services, increasingly in other African countries,” the report titled Tourism for Transformative and Inclusive Growth states.

4 out of 10 international tourists in Africa originate from the continent itself with statistics showing that the intraregional medical tourism market segment is steadily growing.

“Demand by medical tourists for specialised medical care can stimulate job creation for highly skilled health professionals who provide such services,” states the Unctad tourism report.

International tourists have also not been left behind and contrary to western media perception that depicts African deplorable medical facilities,  European tourists are flocking the continent’s medical facilities every year to seek low-cost, high-quality specialised medical treatments including cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.

In Africa, apart from Kenya, Egypt, Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia are also some of the top destinations which already have booming medical tourism services.

“The market segment is increasingly emerging elsewhere on the continent, including in Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria,” it states.

A number of factors can be attributed to Kenya’s high ranking in Medical tourism.

There are about 5,000 Health Facilities in Kenya, 48 per cent of Hospitals in the country are run by the Government, 35 per cent are managed by the private sector 15 per cent by Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs) and NGOs 2 per cent.

In 2015, the government launched a $365 million medical equipment leasing plan to address the country’s need for accessible and affordable specialised health care.

“Soon, a hospital near your home will be well-equipped. You will not have to travel to Nairobi or overseas for specialised treatment,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said during the launch in Machakos.

Kenya’s health tourism Strategy 2014– 2018 seeks inbound medical tourism from sub-Saharan Africa.


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