Interviews Dr. Tsheppo Maaka

April 02, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
April 2, 2007 - Starting Friday, March 30, is releasing a series of interviews profiling the evolution of the medical tourism industry across the world. These interviews incorporate the views and opinions of people involved across the spectrum of the industry and explore the challenges and realities faced by operators and patients in different parts of the world.

Earlier this year, interviewed Dr. Tsheppo Maaka, the Managing Director of Serokolo Health Tourism and an Executive Director with Medical Tourism Services of South Africa (MTSA), a quasi-government agency that promotes South Africa as a medical tourism destination.

1. What growth do you foresee in the health care sector in South Africa, compared to other sectors of the South African economy, in the coming five years?

Since I am no economist, I should think this question would be best addressed by economists looking specifically at the growth of medical tourism as well as the growth of healthcare in general. I believe, however, that medical tourism stands to provide South Africa with a substantial number of patients in the next coming years and will force us to provide infrastructural support as well as the necessary support to provide quality services to those patients.

I believe that slowly the growth of medical tourism will allow South Africa to develop as a health zone for African patients requiring quicker and convenient access to healthcare. I am hoping to be able to enumerate on the extent of the growth of this sector in the next three years as we are only starting to appreciate this industry for the South African health sector.

2. How much do foreign patients contribute to your country's and your organization's total revenues? What growth do you expect in the same?

From the minimal statistics available in South Africa, it is difficult to estimate the contribution of foreign patients to the country’s GDP. I know a private hospital that has received as much as 30% of their revenue from foreign patients.
This is a challenge at this point as we are still developing the systems to capture all the medical tourists coming to the country and also because some patients that do go through our hospitals are in South Africa on other projects, i.e., they have not arrived in South Africa with the objective of medical treatment. It has been a challenge to compute the total revenue it its entirety. I believe that as this industry grows at 30% per annum, we also stand to see the number grow according to the Mckinsey study.

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