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Medical tourism another niche market in South Africa

South Africa – yet another reason to visit

Private healthcare in South Africa has gained international respect and recognition owing to the high standard of medical institutions and the quality of doctors it produces. Dr Chris Barnard performed the worlds first heart transplant, the CAT scan was developed in South Africa.

Another significant achievement is South African owned hospital groups such as Netcare expanding rapidly internationally. In 2006 Netcare was awarded Britain’s largest hospital contract, with UK group GHG, and are now recognized as the largest private hospital group in the southern hemisphere.

Private healthcare is a dramatic contrast to the pubic healthcare system in South Africa. Private hospitals, which cater primarily for the small insurance covered market and those who can afford it, offer state-of-the-art facilities with the latest technology, highly trained staff, private rooms, personal televisions and a la carte menus.

This high standard of private healthcare, coupled with South Africa’s weak currency, encourage medical tourism organizations to promote South Africa with confidence, as a safe and affordable medical destination.

BodyContours Healthcare Group in South Africa actively markets medical tourism and says that clients are more concerned with cost than the standard of care in South Africa.

According to Jacqui Gilchrist, Public Relations Manager, “The high standard of medical treatment and expertise is almost a given when visiting South Africa. Our clients are confident in our specialists and even more impressed when they get here.”

Gilchrist says that the most popular procedures are breast enlargements, tummy tucks, liposuction and nose reshaping. The costs vary for each individual. A breast enlargement costs roughly between ₤1500 - ₤1800, adding on flights and accommodation in South Africa and a client can pay approximately ₤2500 for a package. Clients are expected to stay for a minimum of 10 days in South Africa before returning home.

This differs vastly with the cost of a breast enlargement in the UK. Costs of a breast enlargement in London can be anything from ₤3500 - ₤6000.

Medical tourism has more positive offerings. Clients who choose to have their surgery abroad can recover in privacy, in luxurious settings and most enjoy a holiday in South Africa’s top tourist destinations.

With its opulent hotels and breath taking settings, Cape Town is fast becoming one of the leading medical tourism destinations. Clients can choose to relax in one of the many 5 star hotels which over look pristine beaches or the majestic Table Mountain. Alternatively clients can recover in luxury in the nearby picturesque wine lands or enjoy the ultimate African experience at a nearby malaria free game reserve, which boasts the big five.

BodyContours operates predominantly along the beautiful garden route of South Africa, which stretches between the Mother City of Cape Town to the charming town of Port Elizabeth. Clients choose their medical destination according to their surgery needs and budget.

From quality private facilities and top quality medical specialists, together with breathtaking scenery and a vibrant culture, South Africa is firmly establishing itself as the top medical tourism destination for 2007.

About the Author: I joined the BodyContours team in September as their Public Relations Manager. I worked as the Marketing Manager at Netcare Greenacres Hospital for 3 years. Prior to which I was the PR Practitioner at St George’s Hospital.

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