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Ministerial Roundtable a Successful First Step


“I wish to congratulate the MTA for a most successful and enlightening conference. It was quite clear to me from my participation in the Ministerial Roundtable and attendance at many of the sessions that there is tremendous potential for The Islands of The Bahamas to develop into a leading medical tourism destination,” said Vernice Walkine, Director-General for the Island of the Bahamas.

“The conference offered us the opportunity to learn about other destinations, their development and to gain knowledge about best practices which might be applied in our own progress in addition to networking with principals in this field. We look forward to working closely with the MTA with regard to the professional assistance offered to us in the development of our nation in this regard.”

The focus of the Ministerial Roundtable on Medical Tourism was centered on increasing the quality of healthcare throughout the world, patient safety, policy relations and collaborative roles of global agencies in fostering medical tourism development worldwide. Ministerial Roundtable rappoteur, Vivian Ho of the MTA, said “this session was just further evidence that medical tourism is one aspect of the healthcare industry globalizing and commoditizing; and collaboration of this nature led by Mr. Paulo Teixeira of PAHO/WHO and Mr. David Morgan of OECD provides the necessary leadership for the niche industry’s growth”.

Ministerial delegate Cynthia Carrion, Undersecretary of Sports & Wellness Tourism, Department of Tourism in the Philippines commented that “the Philippines aspires to be a world class destination hub for medical travel, health & wellness by 2015. And to that end, both the opportunities and proceedings of this Medical Tourism Congress and the Ministers Roundtable facilitate our development and that of the industry as a whole.”

“The Ministers Roundtable was a step forward in the right direction as countries engaged in medical tourism are all at various stages of development. Having the leadership of the Ministers of Health and Tourism from around the world collaborating and discussing issues in order to advance medical tourism development as relates to capacity building, infrastructure development, benchmarking, sustainable development and fiscal policies is imperative as this strengthens industry-wide transparency, patient safety and healthcare quality globally.

An equally important aspect of the Ministers Roundtable discussion was the economic and qualitative benefits of medical tourism to a country’s population and how medical tourism increases healthcare quality within a specific country and region” said Renée- Marie Stephano, Esquire, President of the Medical Tourism Association.

Minister of Health Nasser of the United Arab Emirates endorsed the World Medical Tourism & Global Health Congress as well as the Ministerial Roundtable stating that the UAE “was very proud to see all our friends from other countries in the world here.”

Specifically, Laila Al Jassmin, CEO of the Clinical Support Services Sector for Dubai Health Authority articulated that “We are looking at a lot of collaboration. Our recent health reform was intended to strengthen the health systems in Dubai which will assist us going forward. We are here to strengthen medical tourism.”

“The Congress was indeed most productive and enjoyable as an international Forum of Industry Leaders and Policy Makers. The presence of PAHO on behalf of the WHO provided a good sound regulatory perspective. To have all those persons present and to learn from them is equal to many years of study, consultation and international fact finding missions. It truly was value for money in a thousand ways,” said Deputy Minister of Health of South Africa, Dr. Molefi Sefularo.

The second Ministers Roundtable on medical tourism will be held at the 3rd World Medical Tourism and Global Health Congress in Los Angeles, September 22-24th, 2010.

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