A South African Medical Vacation
After successfully wooing patients from across the US, UK, and Australia with its low cost cosmetic surgery packages, South Africa is turning to its own neighborhood to boost its medical vacation industry. Serokolo, a leading South African health tourism agency is trying to entice wealthy Nigerians who have their eyes set on the US and UK for medical treatment to hop over to Johannesburg instead. Oddly enough, the company has set up an office in Laos to facilitate travel arrangements for Nigerians who consider going overseas for treatment. For most Nigerians, overseas travel for everything from dental treatment to life saving procedures is an attractive proposition because of the unavailability of high quality health care in their own country, and the isolation of the region.
For those who can afford it, paying substantially higher for the cost of dental bridges in the UK is still preferable to the shoddy treatment back home. Close to 1,500 Nigerians travel abroad each month, mainly to the US and UK, creating a growing market for the South African dental tourism industry to explore.
What is Dental Tourism?
So what exactly is dental tourism? Dental tourism, as the name implies, is the act of traveling abroad to have dental procedures that may be either too expensive or unavailable in one’s own country. Countries like Hungary, Bulgaria, and South Africa have well established dental tourism facilities where a patient who either finds the cost of dental bridges in his home country too expensive or inaccessible can get his teeth fixed and enjoy a short vacation in a span of a week. For Nigerians, besides the lowered costs of medical and dental treatment, what could be a defining factor that tips the scales towards treatment in South Africa is the comfort of being in a familiar African culture.