A new Global Health
The superficial view that tourist travel solely for pleasure seems somewhat redundant given that today there are many tourism typologies; sport, leisure-seeking, religion or pilgrim pursuits, environmental, business amongst many others. In medical tourism, “tourists” primarily seek medical treatment and afterwards the more conventional tourism experience related to leisureand relaxation in tourist places. The concept of traveling for medical care is nothing new, but the modern concept of medical tourism has only emerged in the past 10 to 15 year. That new phenomenun has had a dazzling growth, and it is becoming more and more normal to traveling across international borders to obtain health care. Before I set out different causes of the trend in the second part, Iwill begin by discribing it in the first part, and finally, I will try to figure out the present and future impacts that medical tourism have on earth and society.
" Medical tourism is a term describing the fact of traveling across international borders to obtain health care. " Medical tourists can come from anywhere in the developed World, including Europe, the Middle East, Japan, the UnitedStates, and Canada. This is because of the high expense of health care or a lack of an efficient health care system; moreover, their populations have increasing higher welfare expectations. Yet, whereas medical tourism is massively used in countries with poor healthcare system, as in the United States, it is now the time for Europeans to be tempted. According to a poll given by " EuropeAssistance ",since may 2005, 45% of French people report to be ready to go abroad in order to receive treatment. For the same question, the European's average is around 52%. Nevertheless, even if medical tourism becomes more and more famous, it is still a risky procedure.
Medical tourism carries some risks that locally-provided medical care does not. Some countries, such as India, Malaysia, or Thailandhave very different infectious disease-related epidemiology from Europe and North America, so exposure to diseases without having built up natural immunity can be a hazard for weakened individuals. Moreover, the quality of post-operative care can also vary dramatically, depending on the hospital and country, and may be different from US or European standards.
Today, medical tourism is not anisolated phenomenon. Indeed, it is spreading all over developed countries and the succes of the trend is due to differents reasons.
One of the first causes of health tourism is the cost of surgery. That cost in India, Thailand or South Africa can be one-tenth of what it is in the United States or Western Europe, and sometimes even less. A heart-valve replacement that would cost $200,000 or more inthe US, for example, goes for $10,000 in India--and that includes a round-trip airfare and a brief vacation package. Similarly, a metal-free dental bridge worth $5,500 in the US costs $500 in India and a knee replacement in Thailand with six days of physical therapy costs about one-fifth of what it would in the States. Cosmetic surgery savings are even greater: a full facelift that would cost$20,000 in the US runs about $1,250 in South Africa. Furthermore, since some interventions as cosmetic and dental surgeries are not covered by insurances, that is why those are the most popular in medical travel.
After that, some patients travel because the medical treatment is not available in their local area. Yet many developed countries have care available for patients, but because of highdemand the treatment and care are not accessible. In some countries, patients have to wait for six to twelve months for surgery.
And the icing on the cake is that nowadays, traveling is easier and more affordable than 20 years ago, and that enables medical tourism to exist and to grow. In addition, we can notice improvements in both technology and standards of care in many countries, making them...
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