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Sep 7, 2012

Medical Tourism is on the horizon

The verdict is still out on medical tourism but the reality of its full presence in Belize is inevitable. Over sixty countries worldwide have already been established as medical tourism destinations and Belize is on the road to becoming one of them. Today at the House of Culture, a workshop was held with both the private and public sectors as well as tourism and health stakeholders to discuss the expectations of international patients, quality and patient safety, as well as developing a common vision on the rules of inclusion for Belize’s Medical Tourism Industry. International Consultant on Medical Tourism, Massimo Manzi, was guest speaker at the workshop. He says the goal is to create a comprehensive set of strategies; implementing a policy that can then be put into legislation. According to Deputy Executive Director of Beltraide, Melanie Gideon, medical tourism has been very fruitful and to acquire just a fraction of the income generated worldwide would be beneficial to Belize. Gideon says the ultimate objective is to have stakeholders know their role in the industry.

 

Melanie Gideon, Deputy Executive Director, BELTRAIDE

Melanie Gideon

“Like any industry in the country, you need every stakeholder to understand the ultimate objective—thereby knowing their role in the industry. Medical tourism is no different. We have the benefit of developing it from scratch, per say, so all the stakeholders from the local practitioners, to the hoteliers, to the government aspect, the public sector know their role and what they each need to do to help develop this sector. And what is the benefit? Simple economic growth, spreading the wealth, improving Belize’s branding as an economic destination, as another destination for another product and in this case, medical tourism as a product. The benefits will be that our practitioners can really showcase their specialties. And when I say practitioners, I mean from the doctors to the nurses, to the technicians. To make sure that we can continuously take advantage of such a very fruitful, very economically viable industry. So that is what we are hoping to do over the next few months.”

 

Massimo Manzi

Massimo Manzi, International Consultant on Medical Tourism

“We are in Belize in order to involve a number of stakeholders from the private and public side in order to work together because having medical tourism industry in Belize is not easy—you need excellent hospitals, you need doctors really trained and having certain kind of international experience. Belize has certain competitive advantages obviously and Belize can do it. It can be a very excellent medical tourism destination: the location, the fact that you speak English, you have certain kind of experience including dental tourism, your country wants to be visited by Americans and Canadian—a lot of people that look at Belize like their dream country. So if we are able to add to the existing offer in terms of tourism, sand and beaches, a little bit additional like health and wellness, they will certainly get this sort of opportunity and that’s an opportunity for hospitals, clinics. Not only the healthcare sector but also tour operators, hotels to enter into a different niche which has additional benefits compared to a normal tourist.”

 

Melanie Gideon

“Currently, Massimo, our technical consultancy, is supposed to have two more months to finish up and his deliverable is a policy document with an action plan and thereafter, it is Beltraide working with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Tourism to enact this through government means to make sure the appropriate legislation goes in, the appropriate regulation goes in, the appropriate support goes into the private sector for development. I think Massimo had mentioned about financing. If we are sure that we want to do this, it is the government’s role to assist the private sector to access financing. If it is technical assistance to approve their capacity building. So all of that goes. That is the future; that is the way forward of what we are going to do for the industry.”

 

Medical Tourism is not new to Belize. Private hospitals have arrangements with cruise ships to attend to passengers that get injured while in the country. The role of Belize’s private health care providers in the new regime has not been established.

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6 Responses for “Medical Tourism is on the horizon”

  1. marsebo says:

    hahahahahahah, Belize has medical tourism, haahahahahaha, baby have you visited any of the poor equiped hospital in Belize.and untrained poorly educated staff.

    if any one wanted to be butchered , weclome to Belize, where all the Belizean with money go aboroad for treatment.

    Belize hospitals has the maximum death on arrival in the world.

    cheer up ,hahahahahahahahahah medical tourism hahahahahahaha

  2. Liberty and Freedom says:

    I urge the GOB to embrace this opportunity to bring 21st century technology and knowledgeable medical personnel to Belize. The qualified doctors in the socialized medicine arena here have too many patients and not enough training and equipment to handle an expanding population. The GOB does not make it attractive for foreign investment. When a foreign investor reads that we have not paid our bond payment, we look like a “banana republic”. Who in their right minds would invest their money in a country that defaults on their international obligations.
    There are so many benefits to the people, tourism, the GOB and the medical field to make this happen. I applaud Melanie Gideon and Massimo Manzi for their forward thinking ideas and plans.

  3. Storm says:

    On a related subject, I think UB would be wise to create a very competent and internationally accredited nursing program. The demand for English-speaking registered nurses in the States is enormous, and so far it is being filled largely by schools in the Philippines. RNs in the States start earning around $60,000 American per year, and go up with experience.

    For medical tourism to work, we will also need quality RNs. Are we going to import them from the Philippines, too?

  4. m cole r/n , in la. {conerned belizean} says:

    Would love to see where this is going and what the jist / main concept behind medical tourism is about? i believe UB is acredited, internationally, not sure? but is a degree program. Most nurses in belize is trying to upgrade themselves. Im intrested in private duties in belize, trying to retire and make a decent life back home, with flexible hours Belize is getting too dangerous also, u guys need to address crime, nobody would want to come to a country, where their life is in constant danger, and people get rob and killed for meager stuff., from jealous and lazy thieves. . good luck belize, ! hope things change fof better!!

  5. Rod says:

    What a joke good one udp why didnt Rodwell Williams and the pm wife go to hospital in Belize hehehe what a joke this is.

  6. Liberty and Freedom says:

    I have been on an operating table in Belmopan Hospital and treated by Dr. Ken. I had a choice to go to Guatemala or the US. I chose the doctor. He had limited resources at his disposal. He did a followup with the referring doctor. Have you been operated upon in Belize? All the ha-ha’s are like a braying jackass. There are many qualified doctors in Belize. They need exposure to new techniques and equipment. If you ever find yourself in an accident , knife wound or gunshot you had better hope they never find out who marsebo is.. Some people are always negative and lack vision.

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