Medical Tourism School to Open in Almaty

ASTANA – A medical tourism school will be launched in Almaty. The centre will serve as a training facility for tourist company employees.  medical-tourism

Kazakhstan Tourist Association head Rashida Shaikenova noted the medical tour organisation requires a very large contribution from tourist companies and managers who work with medical services’ consumers, according to an Oct. 26 report by Tengrinews.

“It requires communication skills, knowledge of medicine of countries which they work with and attention to the future tourist/traveller who goes to get medical services. Training seminars will be conducted within the school and leading experts in the field of transplantation, oncology and cosmetology will be invited. This service [cosmetology] is becoming more and more popular. There will be a systematic approach to very simple things, such as how to improve tourist service quality not only by a tourist company, but also by the clinic as well. We will explore new technologies, techniques and new growth points for the provision of medical services. We should offer our country as one of the directions in the field of medical tourism today. We have to work very closely with the doctors, so we can receive quality service,” she said.

The tourist association regularly conducts research on the needs of Kazakh citizens, she added. Beach tourism, which formerly led in list, has been replaced with medical tourism.

“In 2014, we saw for the first time that the demand for medical tourism came in first place. The Kazakh society is beginning to understand the need to take care of its health,” said Shaikenova.

A significant number of countries have an agreement with Kazakhstan on visa-free entry, which increases the nation’s possibilities of receiving tourists.

“Dental services are in demand. We have a unique opportunity to receive services for cardiovascular problems through our clinics in Astana. There is good feedback about the level of our oncologists and transplantation is also in demand,” she stated.

As a result, there is a demand for personnel able to work with medical tourists, noted Oksana Svetenko, director of one of country’s tourist companies. The future medical tourism school claims to help solve the issue.

“Each medical tourist should be attached to a manager who will be responsible for him for the whole period of stay. The manager should explain the procedures carried out in hospitals and provide a package of documents translated into the native language of the tourist after the end of his stay here,” she said, adding one of the nation’s problems of inbound medical tourism is the lack of English-speaking staff at health centres and absence of an English version of their websites.

Promoting health services needs to focus not on the clinic or the country, but on specific doctors.

“I never recommend a country or a particular clinic. I will look for a doctor who can be the most helpful. The importance of preventive medicine today is very high. In the pursuit for earnings, we forget about our health. When it gets late, we begin to do something. I urge everyone to go through an annual check, to monitor health,” said Svetenko, according to Tengrinews.