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What to consider when seeking treatment abroad

 Before travelling, check if the hospital you are considering is regulated and accredited. [iStockphoto]

Facing the need for specialised medical treatment can be challenging and overwhelming. It is during these difficult times that finding the right hospital abroad becomes crucial.

As a medical tourism consultant, I understand the significance of making informed decisions when in this situation. Here are some tips:

Check if the hospital you are considering is regulated and accredited: Look for hospitals that adhere to international healthcare standards and have obtained accreditation from recognised bodies. This ensures that the hospital meets stringent quality criteria, guaranteeing patient safety, hygiene, and the use of advanced medical technologies.

Verify the qualifications, certifications, and experience of the consultants who will be undertaking your procedure. Ensure they have the necessary skills and expertise in the specific area of specialisation you require. This will provide you with confidence in their abilities and increase the likelihood of a successful treatment outcome.

Evaluate the hospital's track record: This is in terms of clinical outcomes: Request information on success rates, patient testimonials, and any published data on treatment outcomes for the specific procedure you require. A hospital that transparently shares their clinical outcomes demonstrates their commitment to quality healthcare and patient satisfaction.

Infection control: This is paramount when considering any medical procedure: Inquire about the hospital's infection control protocols, including the measures they take to minimize the risk of infections. Hospitals with low infection rates and robust infection control practices prioritize patient safety and well-being.

Understand the cost of treatment: This is vital for making informed decisions. Inquire about the breakdown of costs, including consultation fees, procedure costs, hospital stay and medications. Consider the overall value provided by the hospital, weighing the cost against the quality of care and services offered.

Accomodation: If you plan to have family members accompany you during your treatment, inquire about the accommodation options. Seek information on nearby hotels, or hospital-provided accommodations that cater to the needs of patient companions.

Keep your local doctor informed and involved: Your local doctor possesses valuable knowledge of your medical history, ongoing treatments, and any specific conditions that may impact your specialised treatment. Maintaining communication with your local doctor ensures continuity of care and allows for a collaborative approach between the local and international medical teams.

Choosing a hospital abroad for specialised treatment is a significant decision that can greatly influence the outcome of your medical journey. I encourage patients seeking treatment abroad to do thorough research to increase the likelihood of a positive and successful medical experience abroad.

-Kenneth Njeru is a director at Africa Afya Healthcare and a medical tourism consultant

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