Tanzania aims to be centre of medical excellence

Tanzania’s Muhimbili National Hospital seeks to serve as a benchmark for medical excellence in the country and the East and Central Africa region.

The potential of medical tourism is significant not only for the purpose of attracting foreign patients, but the improved health facilities will also help Tanzanians seeking what is considered complicated or expensive medical assistance.

For example, surgery on conjoined twins, Neema and Rehema, would have cost Sh120 million (US$55,000) were they to seek the service outside Tanzania, but it cost Sh50 million (US$21,000) which was covered by the government. The complex surgery of separating conjoined twins bound was a defining moment for Tanzania, as it continues to bolster its medical capability.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan has a plan of making Tanzania a medical tourism destination, to save foreign exchange earnings.

In 2020, the late President John Maguguli said the number of Tanzanian patients who seek medical services abroad had significantly dropped. This had followed investment into health facilities and the government launching kidney transplant services at the Muhimbili National Hospital as well as modern diagnosis apparatus at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute and Bugando Medical Centre.

Tanzania believes having modern health facilities will continue to attract foreign nationals from across East and Central African regions.

In order to keep everything in check, it has been suggested that the government should regulate medical tourism, to avoid an overlap with the public health sector.