Friday, December 08, 2006

Tunisia: Medical Tourism.

It really seems that medical sector in Tunisia; specially the private one is performing very well and is an example of a development success story. It started with expanding to North African countries like Libya and Algeria and now the growth is coming from Europe. From Thalasso therapy complex to private clinics building a worldwide reputation in all kind of surgeries, the most lucrative being the plastic ones. Nipping, lifting, tucking, breast enlargement.. Just name it.

Melinda Tricoli sits beaming with joy in a four-star Tunisian hotel after an operation to flatten her stomach.

"I'm so happy. I feel up with the angels. It's spotless, a job well done," she enthuses.

Tricoli caught a plane from her native France to Tunisia after a botched job by a French surgeon left her with three lumps on her stomach.

"It was a nightmare. I thought I'd never have a flat belly. Now everything is OK, I'm going to enjoy myself and visit a few sights, even if I have to walk slowly."

The north African country received 6.4 million holidaymakers last year, bringing in 2.56 billion dinars ($1.98 billion).

"A traditional tourist spends between 300 and 400 euros during his stay," Ben Yeder said. "But a medical tourist spends 2,500 to 4,000 euros at least."

The industry is still small -- some 200,000 people have plastic surgery in France each year, while Tunisia drew just 500 foreign tourists for surgery last year, 80 percent of them French -- but expectations are high.

"If we manage to get 5,000 to 10,000 people every year, this will be an extraordinary industry," said Ben Yeder.

Source Reuters.

What is still behind is the service in public hospitals. Form hearing stories from different sources, it seems that public hospitals are still lagging in quality. I can’t find an explanation to this, since the majority of our doctors are formed in such hospitals, and some of them practice in both private and public sectors, is it a problem of doctor ethics or is it an administrative one? How come that, the same doctors who thrive and perform above average in private clinics can be part of such horror stories we hear happening in public hospitals?

I myself had a very good experience a few years ago. My son had to perform an emergency appendicitis. I took him to El Manar private Clinic and it was one the best medical experience I have ever had. We were taken care of professionally from the time we stepped inside. After the diagnostics, the pediatric surgeon on call came in less than 15 mn (it was 3:00 AM). They prepped him and proceeded with the surgery in less than 2 hours. It was a total success and the scar left on his tummy is now almost invisible. His pediatrician here was amazed by the quality of the surgeon. She told me even in the US, few surgeons will have left him with a so tiny scar. I was really proud. I always believed in the Tunisian competency, it is just the system that is preventing us from thriving!!!!


Massir said...

As you said, I think it is an administration problem.

Our doctors are very good.

Mais c'est le petit personnel (médical et administratif) qui est catastrophique.

Même dans les cliniques privées, il y a des problèmes monstres, mais on n'en parle jamais. Tout est étouffé.

As-tu lu mon post d'aujourd'hui?

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