Cuba could be the next big medical tourism destination

Posted: 02-Nov-16 09:01

Cuba is poised to become a major medical tourism destination. Thousands of Americans travel abroad each year for medical procedures, often those that are not covered by insurance, such as cosmetic procedures, or for experimental treatments not yet available in the US. With a highly regarded health care system and an economy eager for American dollars, Cuba could potentially become a popular choice for Americans seeking medical care that is unavailable or unaffordable at home.

Cuba could be the next big medical tourism destination

While many Americans are no doubt thrilled at the prospect of relaxing on Cuba’s pristine beaches and strolling along the streets of Havana and admiring the classic cars, others are planning a trip to the island for medical purposes.

Medical tourism is nothing new; thousands of Americans travel abroad each year for everything from dental work to plastic surgery. Hungary, for example, is well on its way to becoming the go-to destination for dental procedures. Americans find that they can get the same quality of care and level of expertise in other countries that they do within the US, but at a fraction of the cost.

With the announcement of the normalization of relations between the US and Cuba, many Americans began to consider their neighbour to the south for medical procedures. The Cuban government made health care one of its priorities following the 1959 Revolution, and as a result, the country’s health care is largely free to its people and is highly regarded around the world.

Cuban Medical Services Sales Company recently presented a new health program in Havana which would be aimed at international tourists. The new service includes basic medical check-ups, as well as gynaecological exam for women, prostate exams for men, ultrasounds, and EKGs. Dr Jorge Alberto Miranda, the president of the company, stated in a press release that Cuba’s resources will allow it offer medical services to tourists in a short period of time.

Indeed, the island has an abundance of doctors and there are procedures which were pioneered in Cuba that aren’t available in the United States. Although medical facilities in Cuba pale in comparison to their American counterparts, with peeling paint, water outages, and a shortage of basic supplies—including medications—many medical tourists report that the care they received in Cuba was as good or better than that in their home country.

According to Cubanacan Tourism and Health, an organization which promotes medical tourism to the country, reports that roughly 4000 health tourists travel to Cuba each year. On average, the cost for medical procedures in Cuba is roughly a third less than in the United States. 


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