Decline in medical tourism to blame
The size of the local hospitalization market was around $1.5 billion in 2011, according to the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH). Spending on hospitalization has been dropping over the past few years, said Bahij Arbid, advisor at the MoPH. In 2009 the market was estimated at $2 billion.
This drop is attributed mainly to the retreating trend in medical tourism. “The main reason for the drop in medical tourism is the unstable security situation,” Arbid said. According to Arbid, medical tourism in the MENA region last year hovered at around $7 billion. Jordan accounted for around 30 percent of this total, the biggest share in the region. Besides instability, the development of the hospitalization sector is another factor to take into account. “Jordan relays much importance to the quality accreditation, namely that offered by the globally renowned institution Joint Commission International (JCI),” said Arbid.
The Bellevue Hospital has recently acquired the JCI. It is the third local hospital to receive this certificate, after the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) and the Clemenceau Medical Center (CMC). There are around 135 private hospitals and 12 public hospitals in the country.
According to Arbid, Lebanon was one of the first countries in the MENA to apply an accreditation system for hospitalization quality in 2000. He said: “We signed contracts with the Higher Authority for Health (HAS) in France in order to enhance the quality and services offered by public hospitals.”
Date Posted: Nov 09, 2012