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Medical Tourism - Destination - Jordan

General Informations

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Jordan is the largest medical tourism hub in the Middle East and attracts around 250,000 medical tourists, mostly from the surrounding countries (38% Iraqis, 30% Palestine, 31% Sudan) despite targeting their promotion to the US market. These medical tourists are attracted thanks to the excellent language skills of the workforce and the high quality of care. The country specialises in cardiology, orthopaedics, cosmetic surgery and dentistry. The perception among Western patients of the strict religious rules that exist means that Jordan’s reputation is underdeveloped as a global medical tourism destination. However, Jordan’s potential includes cost savings of 66% when compared to the US and 57% when compared to the prices in the UK. By 2012, the country is aiming to receive revenue of €668 million from medical tourism compared to €4.34 million in 2009.

Jordan
Localisation Southwest Asia bordering Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the West Bank
Capital Amman
Biggest cities (population) Amman (1,275,857), Az Zarqa (792,665), Irbid (307,480)
Inhabitants 6,316,000
Politics constitutional monarchy with a representative government
Religion Islam (92%), Christianity (6%), other (2%)
Currency Jordanian dinar (JOD) = € 1.072290
GDP € 13,380 million, 0.03% of the world’s GDP
Official language(s) Arabic
Climate Mediterranean, with highs of 32°C in summer and lows of 3°C in winter
Time zone GMT +2, summer time GMT +3
Happy Planet Index (HPI) 26

Cultural Aspects

General Culture

Jordan is a very diverse country with many different cultural, religious and ethnic groups having chosen to settle there because of its stability and tolerance when compared to nearby countries. These influences are greatly with architecture, music and cuisine varying greatly. Jordanian cuisine predominately consists of Middle Eastern cooking but with the insertion of fresh yogurt and cheese. It is often enjoyed in the form of ‘mezes’, which are small dishes of a variety of foods.

Safety

Jordan ranks number 64 on the GPI meaning that it is a peaceful country for this region of the world.

Tourists Attractions and Sights

  • Petra in Ma’an: a city carved into the side of a mountain which was the home of the Nabateans
  • Mount Nebo: the location where Moses was said to have gone to get a view of the Promised Land before he passed away
  • The Dead Sea: saltiest sea and the lowest point on earth, which sinks a meter lower every year
  • Amman: the city houses a Roman theatre and many museums where the Dead Sea Scrolls are located
  • Wadi Rum: a desert full of mountains popular for a variety of extreme sports and famous for its association with ‘Lawrence of Arabia’

Visa Requirements

Citizens of Australia, Canadia, US and EU countries can obtain a one month visa or single-entry visas on arrival at any point of entry into Jordan. Multiple-entry visas can only be obtained at the nearest embassy/consulate. Visas may be extended for three or six months by registering with a police station in Jordan. 133

Infrastructure

Transportation

Jordan maintains a developed transportation infrastructure thanks to the many international trade agreements with the US, Singapore and Europe among others. This means that there are over 8,000 km of paved highways as well as one large rail network, although there are plans for two new rail networks to be built. Jordan also has three large international airports, with two located in Amman.

Driving in Jordan as a foreigner can be chaotic with minimal road signs and determined drivers, but taxis are cheap, abundant and trustworthy. Taxis are recommended for foreigners as the busses are often below the standard expected.

Accommodation

Hotel rooms in Amman range from the luxury five star hotels to basic hotels. Tourists are better off to pay money for a superior hotel as the quality of cheaper hotels is often below what is found in Europe. Hilton Worldwide has already seen the potential of this market and is planning to open new hotels to accompany the other chains such as Carlson Hotels Worldwide and Accor Hotels. In Jordan there are no hospitals with their own hotels but there is a good cooperation with local hotels.

Health Care System

WHO ranking 83
Physicians per 10,000 population 24.0 (2005)
Nurses per 10,000 population 32.0 (2005)
GDP spent on health care 10.5% (2007)
Education period of doctors 6 years + 1 year residency
Education period of specialists additional up to 6 years

Health Care Providers

In Jordan, there are 101 hospitals with 61 being private (providing 3,712 out of 11,200 beds which accounts for 33.6% of all beds). For Jordanians, however, the main provider of health care is the public sector alongside international and charitable organisations such as United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Primary care is mostly taken care of by the public hospitals whereas the private ones deal mostly with the tertiary care. Private hospitals remain largely clustered around Amman.

Insurance

In Jordan, the insurance system is considered to be inefficient as around 30% of citizens are not covered, although the government wants this to be 100% by 2011. This is due to the recent influx of Iraqis who do not have insurance. 69% of Jordanians receive free health care, due to their status as public sector employees or their dependents and around 10% of the population are insured privately.

Reforms/Policies

Jordan recently published the ‘National Health Research Priorities’ for 2009 to 2012 which outlines plans to improve the health care provided to both nationals and internationals. The increase in medical tourism revenue is the main factor that has made this possible.

General Medical Tourism Information

Jordan attracted 7,100,482 international visitors during 2008 mainly from India and Arabic countries.

In 2007, the number of medical tourists in Jordan was estimated to be 250,000 141. The kingdom was rated as number one in the region and fifth in the world as a medical tourism hub. This resulted in Jordan making more money from medical tourism than it invested in the whole of its health care sector. In 2009, the country expects to achieve USD 6.5 million (€ 4.34 million) in medical tourism revenue and it is hoped to be a USD 1 billion (€ 668 million) by the end of 2012. With regard to medical tourism, Jordan has been proactive in attracting US patients through an advertising campaign. However, its results have not yet been shown. The ‘Medical Tourism Directorate’ was also created to monitor medical tourism and national health care.

Flows

The largest medical tourism flows entering the country are from Iraq (38%), Palestine (30%) and Sudan (31%). Other countries make up 1%.

Reasons

  • Quality: western-trained practitioners with a high level of expertise.
  • Language skills: although Arabic is the official language, English is widely understood among the middle and upper classes.
  • Cost savings: medical procedures count a cost saving of 66% when compared to the US and 57% when compared to the prices in the UK.

Specialisation

The main areas of medical specialisation in Jordan include:

  • Cardiology
  • Orthopaedics
  • Cosmetic and plastic surgery
  • Dentistry

Top Facilities

The top facilities have been selected using the following criteria’s, listed in order of importance: JCI Accreditation, ISQua accreditation, international orientation. In general national accreditation systems have not been taken into consideration, due to the fact that there are too many and judging them is out of the scope of this study. Jordan has four JCI accredited facilities. The internationally oriented hospitals are:

  • Al Essra Hospital, Amman
  • Jordan Hospital and Medical Centre, Amman
  • The Speciality Hospital, Amman

SWOT

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Stable and tolerant country leads to a ranking of 64 on the GPI
  • Developed transport infrastructure
  • Cost savings of 66% when compared to the US and 57% when compared to the UK
  • Western-trained medical staff
  • Largest medical tourism hub in the Middle East, serving mostly Arabs
  • Strict rules related to religion mean that tourists are expected to respect the culture
  • Underdeveloped reputation among Western countries

Conclusion

Jordan is the largest medical tourism hub in the Middle East and attracts around 250,000 medical tourists, mostly from the surrounding countries (38% Iraqis, 30% Palestine, 31% Sudan) despite targeting their promotion to the US market. The perception among Western patients of the strict religious rules that exist means that Jordan’s reputation is underdeveloped as a global medical tourism destination. However, Jordan’s potential includes cost savings of 66% when compared to the US and 57% when compared to the prices in the UK. By 2012, the country is aiming to receive a revenue of €668 million from medical tourism compared to €4.34 million in 2009.

Top Facility Chart

Jordan Al Essra Hospital Jordan Hospital and Medical Centre The Speciality Hospital
Location and website Amman www.essrahospital.com Amman www.jordan-hospital.com Amman www.specialty-hospital.com
Accreditations or certifications JCI JCI, ISO 9002 JCI, ISO 9001:2000
Capacity of hospital beds 160 beds 300 beds 200 beds
Possible for accompanying person to stay in room Yes, in suites Yes, in private rooms Yes, in suites
Medical tourists 250 annually from Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Libya Middle East and recent increase in Europe Sudan, Palestine, Iraq, Yemen and Libya
Number of medical staff doctors/nurses 720 physicians, nurses and administration >150 specialists >40 specialists
Type of rooms available (prices) Private single (27) / deluxe (13) / executive (7) rooms and suites (10) Private single / deluxe / executive rooms and suites(36) Private single rooms and suites (14)
International patient department Yes, Arab Patient Office Yes, and special concierge department Yes, Arab Patients Services Office
Adaptations to cultures and nations Yes, in food, language and religious habits Yes, in food and religious habits Yes, in food and language
Languages spoken by staff Arabic and English, interpreters available Arabic, English and Russian Arabic and English
Marketing of the facility/USP Website and word of mouth from JCI accreditation Partnerships with international insurance companies and other medical tourism related companies Partnerships with international insurance companies and other medical tourism related companies
Specialisations IVF, cardiology, paediatrics, orthopaedics and neurology Paediatrics, anaesthesia, radiology, gynaecology and obstetrics Radiology, physiotherapy, neonatal, IVF, anaesthesia, endoscopy and rehabilitation

Price Chart (in €uro)

Treatment Average Price Al Essra Hospital
Cardiac bypass 8,017 10,021
Gastric bypass N/A 10,021
Knee replacement 4,342 N/A
Hip replacement 4,543 8,017
Hip resurfacing 6,680 4,676
Botox treatment N/A N/A
Breast augmentation 1,837 N/A
Facelift 2,806 N/A
Liposuction N/A N/A
Dental implants 534 N/A
Rhinoplasty 2,504 N/A
Lasik eye surgery 668 N/A

Note: All prices are estimates, and may vary widely from source to source depending on services included in the estimate (i.e. doctor’s fees, hospitalisation, administration costs or the patient’s age and medical history). Due to non-disclosure strategies of the various locations, it was not possible to make a clear separation between those factors. All prices given for the specific facilities have been provided by the hospitals/clinics themselves via email or telephone contact. The prices are given in Euros (€).

N/A means either that treatment are not available in the specific hospital, that a price estimation cannot be found or that the medical facility did not disclose the information. For the average prices, printed literature has been used before researching sources on the internet.