Tanzania: Medical Tourism Drive Gets Fresh Impetus

Tanzania’s medical tourism initiative received a boost on Thursday after the health ministry signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Egypt’s Alameda Healthcare Group to improve the availability of specialized and super-specialized health services.

Health Ministry Under-Secretary Prof Abel Makubi said the deal was the seventh after the government signed similar deals with India, Israel, Turkey, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda.

He said the MOU with Alameda Healthcare Group will allow the country to access medical staff training and expert skills exchange programs; patient referral services; and online medical consultation services (telemedicine) provided by Alameda Healthcare.

Prof Makubi noted that the government will continue to invest in health services as other 15 memoranda of understanding focused on providing quality health services are in various stages of negotiation.

The effort has so far reduced referrals abroad by 95 percent while attracting patients from neighboring countries.

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The implementation of the health projects is in line with the ruling CCM’s 2020-25 Election Manifesto and Third Five-Year National Development Plan (FYDP III), which emphasizes the improvement of primary and specialized health care.

He said the government’s determination to make Tanzania a center of excellence in delivering specialized and super-specialized health services remains intact and it will continue to make efforts to transform the sector.

“We want to turn the country into a center of excellence to attract patients from outside the country as a result of the implementation of the medical tourism strategy,” he said, noting that the facilities will also play a role in reducing the number of Tanzanian patients who seeking treatment overseas.

In line with global diplomacy, health initiatives are on the agenda with the Department of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation hosting meetings with 18 embassies and investors since 2021/22 to motivate them to invest in the health sector.

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So far, efforts to implement the medical tourism strategy have started to bear fruit, with the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) and the Muhimbili Orthopedic Institute (MOI) receiving patients from Kenya, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, the Comoros and Mozambique.

The MoU with Alameda will also enable various super specialties, treat patients referred from Tanzania to Alameda Healthcare facilities and provide regular feedback to the referring physician in Tanzania for future follow-up.