Global Health Asia-Pacific March 2022 March 2022 - Page 36

Medical Tourism News

Indonesia builds new hospital to stem medical tourism outflow
Much-needed investment in healthcare could benefit all Indonesians

The Indonesian government is partnering with the worldrenowned Mayo Clinic to set up a cutting-edge hospital on the island of Bali in an attempt to convince some of its citizens to seek care domestically instead of flying abroad .

The 300-bed facility is slated to be online by mid-2023 , while two other international hospitals will be built in Jakarta and Medan .
“ We hope Bali will become a special economic zone for the health sector , and hopefully by then , there will be no more Indonesians travelling overseas to seek medical treatment ,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo was quoted as saying in The Straits Times .
He added that at least 600,000 Indonesians are believed to go abroad for medical care every year , especially to Singapore and Malaysia , spending about 93 trillion rupiah ( US $ 6 billion ). These patients look for a variety of treatments , with cancer care being one of the most sought-after services .
A hospital management expert from Udayana University Ketut Suarjana told The Star that some Indonesian patients with cancer had to seek care in places like Singapore because the treatment they needed wasn ’ t available locally .
The government ’ s plan is to redirect some of the financial resources spent overseas to the local healthcare system to create jobs while strengthening the country ’ s medical services and boosting foreign healthcare investment .
The move also aims to provide an additional financial line to Bali whose economy is heavily dependent on tourism and has been badly hit by the pandemic travel restrictions .
Japan opens up to healthcare travellers
Several categories of people will be able to enter the country

The land of the rising sun is joining many other nations in easing its travel restrictions after about two years of closed borders , reported The International Medical Travel Journal , and healthcare travellers are among the lucky few who will be allowed to enter the country .

In addition to overseas patients , the selected categories include foreigners who travel for business or other non-tourist purposes like studying , while tourists are still banned . However , visitors will have to quarantine for three days provided that they ’ ve received three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine . While citizens of countries where COVID-19 is under control may be able to avoid quarantine , it ’ s still unclear which nations fall into that category .
Japan has also increased the cap on the number of daily international arrivals from 3,500 to 5,000 , but some believe more people could be allowed in from overseas .
While the initial response to the Omicron variant was textbook , the strain has been spreading widely in the country . Therefore , it didn ’ t make sense to close borders if overseas travellers were vaccinated and tested for COVID-19 , Kazunobu Ouchi , an executive with the academic group Japanese Society of Travel and Health , told The Japan Times .
“ In that sense , the cap for the number of people allowed in each day can be much higher , even 10 times ” the 5,000 limit , he said .
The government seems receptive to this idea , with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida saying : “ It is just the first step . I will continue considering how much we can ease measures ” on border restrictions , according to The Japan Times .
34 MARCH 2022 GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com