Africa: Medical Tourism Improves MRI Market in Egypt
By Ben Bosco:
Egypt is the medical hub of the Arabic World, with people from all over the Middle East and North Africa coming to Cairo to learn medicine at one of their many public and private medical schools. When it comes to actual healthcare in Egypt, it is one of the best in the Arabic World in terms of competitive technologies and cutting-edge treatments for disease (which it should be, as the average Cairene breathes in the equivalent air pollution of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day).
Part of what makes healthcare in Egypt so effective is that, like the United States’, it is a mixture of private and public sector enterprises. Some private radiology offices in Egypt have now bolstered their role as a destination for medical tourists, and it has coerced these medical practices to grow their MRI capabilities to benefit from this tourism.
Medical tourism is when a person goes to another country to get tests or procedures done because they are performed better in that country than in their homeland. This can be seen in Americans getting cheaper medications over the border in Canada or Mexico, individuals with rare disorders or those that face complicated surgeries going to America, Australia, Western Europe or South Africa for their caliber of surgeons and access to resources.
The development of medical tourism in Egypt is driven by the competition of the private sector, in which medical practices improve their technology in order to attract patients to their office since they exist to make a profit. This makes it possible for non-residents to get procedures for what is usually a lower cost, which may compromise the care or price for residents of the country.
Egyptian MRI offices in 2012 took in revenues of $35 million, and are expected this year to take in revenues of over $66 million in 2019 with a compound interest rate of 9.7 percent. While the political situation is making some hospitals and medical offices hesitant to privatize thanks to uncertainty about the handling of medication by whoever is/will be in power, this is certainly a growing industry catering to a major portion of the world’s population.