Destination Spotlight

Touching All Bases ~ Medical Tourism in the Middle East: An Interview with Dr. Fawzi AIHammouri Specialty Hospital in Jordan

Destination Spotlight

In the past, patients from the Middle East travelled to the United States and Europe for better access to high quality healthcare.  Now, the tides have turned.  More and more patients are travelling countries like Jordon and Israel where they can find just as high quality, if not better than their home country and patients in the Middle East have access at their fingertips.

We had an opportunity to interview Dr. Fawzi Al-Hammouri of Specialty Hospital in Jordon about this phenomenon.  He states, “Specialty Hospital receives patients from 48 countries.  These patients are mainly from Arab countries, but they also come from Africa, Europe and USA.  International patients constitute 35-40% of the total number of admissions to specialty hospital.”

This percentage is very high for any international hospital.  Al-Hammouris adds that “40% of in-patients are from outside Jordan.  They are coming for cardiac care, kidney procedures and organ transplants. That is most well known for cardiovascular, renal, plastic surgery and dental care.”

This number is rising.  In 2007, Specialty Hospital experienced a 10% growth in foreign patients in 2007.  “We are attracting more patients from new countries. Also, the Specialty Hospital has achieved JCI accreditation and HCAC accreditation.  There are other hospitals involved in medical tourism in Jordan.  Approximately twenty hospitals are interested in medical tourism in Jordan,” he added.

Whereas in many other countries the government entities are joining together to promote the country as a medical tourism destination, in Jordon, [t]he government is not much involved in medical tourism.  Its rule is mainly regulatory and in monitoring the system.  However, the tourism board of Jordan is starting to help us in promoting Jordan as a medical tourism destination,” reports Al Hammouri.

When asked about their goals in attending the World Medical Tourism & Global Health Congress, Al Hammouri replied, “We want to show our capacity to receive patients from USA and Europe, and we can provide this service in a JCI accredited hospital by US and UK trained and certified doctors, at a 25% lower cost compared to the US costs.  We are looking forward to learning from other experiences as well as promoting our capabilities.”

We look forward to seeing more of Specialty Hospital and the hospitals in Israel in 2009.

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