Like much of the world, the Philippine economy has seen a downturn in the last few years, with falling tourism revenue, poor investment prospects and a lack of overseas employment opportunities. Officials in the country are turning to medical tourism as a potential solution to some of their economic woes, however, and are hoping it will bring in new business, technology and interest in their country.

Over the past few years the Department of Tourism and the Department of Health have been working together to promote the Philippines as the hotspot among Asia’s myriad of medical tourism destinations. Drawing in these guests can be big business for a failing economy, as the government has estimated that the average visitor to the country for medical tourism spends around $3,500 during his or her stay. In hard times, those kinds of numbers and that kind of spending is hard to come by.

That reason, among others, is the driving force behind the medical summit that the Department of Tourism will be holding this October to discuss the future of medical tourism in Southeast Asia. Officials are hoping it will bring new interest to the growing field in the country and situate the Filipino care facilities as some of the best quality and highest value in the world.

While medical tourism in the Philippines has seen a growth in recent years, it still has some major issues and concerns from foreign visitors to address. The country has seen sanctions for the large number of poor Filipinos who sell organs like kidneys to wealthy Americans who are willing to pay for them. Part of the initiative of the summit is to change the image of the country and assure future patients that concerns like these are being resolved and the country doesn’t offer third-world health care but instead state of the art medical facilities.

Currently, the Philippines is home to many specialty facilities offering care from dental work to organ transplants, having some of the oldest heart, lung and kidney transplant centers in the region. Officials also want to promote the post-surgical care they can offer with health spas and wellness facilities springing up as well.

Of course, Filipino officials aren’t ignoring what is possibly the biggest draw for foreign visitors: low cost health care. In many cases, operations abroad cost a fraction of what they would at home, allowing those without insurance to get the health care they need without incurring life long debt.

This post was contributed by Hannah Watson, who writes about the online nursing program.

For cheap surgery in the Philippines, contact Healthbase.

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