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Growth of Worldwide Medical Tourism Market

The worldwide medical tourism market is estimately growing at a rate of 25-35% annually. The high cost of health care and long wait times for some procedures still remain the major factors for growth.

Healthcare System and Quality in South Africa

South Africa has aimed to decentralize its healthcare system so all of its citizens have access to primary healthcare at zero costs. The medical care standards offered in South Africa are touted as some of the best among African healthcare facilities. The South African healthcare system comprises of a relatively small but fast-developing private healthcare sector and a big public healthcare sector. There are about 4,200 facilities under public healthcare. The state offers free basic healthcare to its citizens, while the private and public healthcare sectors offer hi-tech medical care services to those who can afford it.

South African citizens reach out to traditional healers alongside with general medical practitioner. A research unit was established here by the MRC (Medical Research Council) solely dedicated to traditional medicine in 1997. It has been created to research the use of these traditional medicinal forms through modern methodologies, and patent entities that show proven results in medical cure, adding to South Africa’s advances in healthcare.

Hospital and doctor standards in South Africa

There are a number of regulatory bodies established in South Africa to keep a check on the healthcare system. The overall healthcare system in South Africa is managed by the Department of Health. The Health Charter has been established to monitor the healthcare services' quality and access while serving as a channel for the sectors to communicate with each other, and the Council for Health Service Accreditation of South Africa helps medical institutions abide to the set standards under quality care and patient safety. The Health Professions Council of South Africa ensures that the medical professionals follow fair standards of practice.
Each of these bodies has helped in progressively enhancing the quality of healthcare in South Africa over time. In fact, many medical facilities in South Africa are also known to conform to the standards of European and American healthcare. The government has also been taking keen measures to improve the state of healthcare facilities. The public healthcare system receives funding that has a stake of 11 percent in the national budget.

The burgeoning private healthcare sector attracts a majority of South Africa's medical care professionals. These private healthcare institutions usually cater to medical tourists who come in for quality medical procedures. These facilities are equipped with staff who fluently converse in English, eliminating issues of language barrier between patients and medical professionals. Also, many South African healthcare practitioners are well-versed in European languages too, putting European patients at an advantage when they visit the country. 

Aspiring medical professionals here undergo a considerable amount of training before they begin their practice. Students here study for nearly four years before becoming licensed medical professionals, followed by  another four years for specialization. All in all, the training alone takes roughly ten years, before they begin their practice. Surgeons typically work under other experienced surgeons for a couple of year before setting up a private practice. This helps them to equip themselves with the knowledge and the expertise that they need to offer quality medical services.

More information about healthcare and medical tourism in South Africa

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