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Ministers of Tourism, Health and Information launch medical tourism workshop

Mar 01

 Ministers of Tourism, Health and Information launch medical tourism workshop

NNA - Minister of Tourism and Social Affairs Ramzi Msharrafieh, Minister of Public Health Hamad Hassan, and Minister of Information Manal Abdel Samad, held a meeting this Friday at the Ministry of Tourism to discuss the means to promote medical tourism in Lebanon.

After the meeting, Minister Msharrafieh said: 'We grew on the concept of division and dispute over shares and portfolios, but when every minister realizes the importance of the ministry they assume and the plans that can be applied and developed there, said ministry becomes sovereign.'

He thus pushed for a new culture of engagement; the culture of turning the country from a stolen bankrupt state into a productive platform, a different business model, and a restless beehive to finance the State treasury and create jobs for citizens.

'Today we launch the medical tourism workshop. (...) In the past, people would visit certain countries to obtain medical assistance because their country of origin lacks the required medical services. Today, people come from developed countries with soaring medical services' costs to obtain advanced treatments in other 'advanced' countries at a lower cost,' he explained.

Msharrafieh emphasized that 'we have hospitals that are the best in the region,' noting that 'there are two types of medical tourism: hospital tourism and treatment tourism.'

'In a bid to support medical tourism, we will work to: reduce medical burdens, reduce waiting time, provide medical services that are not available in the country of origin, and secure a high level of attention, quality control and quality care,' the minister went on to say.

'In 2019, 20 million tourists traveled abroad to obtain medical treatments, according to Patients Beyond Borders data. The 10 countries that are sought for medical hospitalization due to the reduced cost of treatment, have a record of commitment, high quality of treatment, successful doctors and seasoned staff, in addition to their providing excellent infrastructure and medical services. These countries are: Thailand, India, Brazil, Malaysia, Turkey, Mexico, Costa Rica, Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore.'

'With this workshop which we are launching today, we place Lebanon on the map of developed countries in medical tourism, further to what we will do to activate all tourism fields,' he concluded.

In turn, the Minister of Health said: 'We thank His Excellency the Minister for this invitation, which reflects the determination of the Council of Ministers and its homogeneous work team to play a significant role, especially in these exceptional circumstances that Lebanon is going through. The work of this team is sure to have a positive impact on more than one level.'

He underlined 'the pioneering role of the Ministry of Public Health to develop an organizational structure for this sector, which is a serious and crucial responsibility to revitalize this investment sector. Therefore, the Ministry of Health, in coordination with the Ministry of Tourism, will not delay in laying the structural foundations to encourage this investment and promulgate the relevant laws, because I believe that partnership between the public and private sectors ensures coordination to secure better, high-quality services at reasonable prices.'

'The recommendations issued by the McKinsey study confirmed the key role of hospital tourism, and the demand to improve the economic reality. So we will work together to encourage fair competition and adjust every imbalance that may cause harm to this sector,' Hassan concluded.

Responding to media questions, the Minister of Health said: 'With the abundance of press conferences and media appearances, we have tried to dispel all rumors and incorrect news spread through social media. (...) What Lebanon is going through is circumstantial and will not affect the government policy and strategy.'

Asked about the entry of Lebanese by land and the possibility of transmitting the [coronavirus] infection, Hassan said: 'According to the Lebanese constitution, any Lebanese has the right to return to his country by land, sea or air, but we have to tighten the control measures and reinforce the border points.'

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