Medical Tourism Abroad : A new challenge to Oman’s health system - Al Dakhilya region experience

Saleh S. Al-Hinai, Ahmed S. Al-Busaidi, Ibrahim H. Al-Busaidi

Abstract


Objectives: This study aimed to understand why people seek medical advice abroad given the trouble and expense this entails. The types of medical problems for which treatment abroad was sought, preferred destinations and satisfaction with the treatment were explored. A secondary aim was to give feedback to stakeholders in the health care system on how to handle this issue and meet the needs of the community. Methods: 45 patients who had recently travelled abroad for treatment were asked to complete a questionnaire or were interviewed by telephone. Results: 40 questionnaires were received. 68% of the respondents were male. Orthopaedic diseases were the most common conditions leading patients to seek treatment abroad. Thailand was the most popular destination followed by India (50% and 30% respectively). 85% of respondents went abroad for treatment only, 10% for treatment and tourism and 2.5% were healthy, but travelled abroad for a checkup. Interestingly, 15% of the participants went abroad without first seeking medical care locally. Out of those initially treated in Oman, 38.2% had no specific diagnosis and 38.2% had received treatment, but it was not effective. 73% of respondents obtained information on treatment abroad from a friend. The Internet and medical tourism offices were the least used sources of information. 15% of the patients experienced complications after their treatment abroad. Conclusion: Various facts about medical treatment abroad need to be disseminated to the public. This will necessitate greater effort in public health promotion and education.

 

 


Keywords


Oman; Medical tourism; Health care system.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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