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Turkish Healthcare Group targets Ethiopian medical tourists

Eyes medical education partnerships

Acibadem Healthcare Group, the biggest Healthcare Group in Turkey, has targeted Ethiopia as a major source of medical tourism in East Africa and is set to launch a representative office in Addis Ababa next year, Therz Reporter has learnt.

The Group that runs 21 hospitals and 14 outpatient clinics together with its high-end thematic university has facilities in Bulgaria, the Netherlands, and Macedonia in addition to multiple service centers in Turkey. However, Acibadem is yet to set foot in Africa, and says that it now carefully considering the markets in the continent.    

According to Mustafa Karadede, international relations manager with the Group, the healthcare service provider has been accepting Ethiopian patients since 2017; and on a daily basis, up to six Ethiopian patients are admitted to its facilities in Istanbul. In 2018, the hospitals under its international patient centers has received and treated some 40,000 patients from 96 countries mostly in the Balkans, the Middle East, Asia and Africa to some extent.

Last year alone, according to Karadede, Acibadem has managed to provide healthcare services to 5.5 million patients in total and has performed 139, 000 surgeries that enabled the Group to generate USD 800 million in revenues.   

Manned by 23,000 employees, Acibadem Group is among the elite institutions in the global medical tourism market, standing second in the hair transplant, a growing trend and market in Europe.   

Emerging fast since its establishment as a small clinic in a neighborhood called Acibadem in 1991, the Healthcare Group has grown into one of the leading institutions in Turkey in the field of private healthcare services. Currently, it is advancing globally, joining forces with its Singaporean partner IHH Healthcare Berhad, which is one of the biggest healthcare groups in the Far East, in its own right.

The Group owns some 16 Heart Care Centers (pediatric and adult cardiology, and cardiac surgery), 16 Outpatient Centers, 13 In Vitro Fertilization Centers (infertility - IVF), 11 Cancer Centers (surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy), 10 Organ and Tissue Transplant Centers mostly handling liver, kidney and bone marrow transplant procedures. In addition, the Group runs 9 Spine and Neurosurgery Centers, 6 Robotic assisted Surgery Centers and 1 Sports Medicine Center accredited by the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA).

The Healthcare Group applies both Gama/Cyber Knife and Da Vinci HS technologies that helps avoid direct incisions and also treats complications like brain tumors and breast cancer, routinely. In 2018, for instance, through its facilities, Acibadem has performed complex 408 Kidney, 189 Liver and 380 Bone marrow transplants.

Gearing towards Africa, Acibadem Group is now looking at Cote d’Ivoire and Ethiopia to form partnerships in the area of medical education.

Imane Yuce, communications specialist for international marketing department with Acibadem Hospital Group, told The Reporter that both medical and academic partnerships have been developed between the Group and the Ivorian government, with the later purchasing in-house developed software: Cerebral Plus, a platform that digitizes healthcare systems.

In return, the Acibadem Group has provided scholarships to African students at its medical university where some 4,000 students have access to the high-end technologies in the healthcare field. That partnership, according to Yuce, is sought to be established with Ethiopia, and the Group is looking into an academic partnership with an Ethiopian higher education institution on launching medical programs.

Ethiopia spends about USD half a billion for medical tourism and an additional hundreds of millions on medicine from abroad, every year. Tertiary healthcare facilities are under consideration, however, the coming of Acibadem Group to Ethiopia will be considered as an alternative destination for Ethiopian patients who are regularly referred to India and Thailand for further medical treatment.