Medical tourism in South Africa is a growing niche market for a number of good reasons.
South African medical procedures are renowned the world over, and perhaps we have a certain Cape Town surgeon to blame for that. It was on December 3 1967 that Dr Christiaan Barnard and his team made history with the world's first successful heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.
Since then, South African medicine has gone from strength to strength, with milestones achieved in every facet of modern medicine. Groote Schuur still excels in all branches with its many departments dedicated to world-class training and research.
Medical procedures in South Africa cover a wide scope, and our facilities – both government run and private are spread around the country. While there are many state-run hospitals and clinics, about 200 private hospitals and day clinics around the country cater for every medical need, from dental to maxillofacial to cosmetic procedures such as plastic surgery, from opthalmology to orthopaedics to oncology and from fertility clinics to paediatric specialists.
There are also dedicated psychiatry and rehabilitation clinics, not to mention sleep laboratories and pain management specialists. Many belong to larger groups such as Netcare, Afrox Healthcare and Medi-Clinic and most medical insurances cover treatment at these institutions.
Some of the larger private hospitals include the Netcare Unitas Hospital near Pretoria, the Universitas Private Hospital in Bloemfontein, the Netcare St Augustine's Hospital in Durban and the aforementioned Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in Cape Town. This group runs 64 hospitals and same-day surgery centres in South Africa. Afrox Healthcare manages some 60 acute care hospitals and same-day surgical centres.
Medical tourism includes medical procedures such as cosmetic surgery, dentistry, fertility or rehabilitation, for which there are many excellent private facilities in South Africa.