Bahrain Exhibition Addresses Rising Costs, a Major Problem in Health Care
IHT 2006, held in Bahrain Dec. 11-13 and organized by Amadeus International Fairs Group under the aegis of the Bahraini government and Minister of Information and Foreign Affairs, Dr. M. Abdul Ghaffar, attracted a significant number of international exhibitors promoting the concept of cheap healthcare in the Middle East. Turkey, Thailand, Iran, and India were present, as were Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The exhibition, originally planned for a smaller convention room at the Bahrain International Convention Center, had to be moved to a larger area to accommodate the increase in exhibitors, a prime indicator that medical tourism (i.e., providing cheap healthcare to vacationing foreigners) has passed its infancy and become a potentially vast source of income for developing countries.
Rising Costs a Major Problem in Health Care in Developed Countries
IHT exhibits focused on infrastructure – hospitals, clinics, and other medical organizations – and facilities like spas, airlines, hotels providing specialized health tourism features. In addition, the conference highlighted travel agents specializing in health tourism and health care services for the elderly in the Middle East. The exhibition as a whole provided the first and only regional opportunity for medical tourism providers to display their expertise and understanding of the needs of medical tourists from developed countries, where rising costs are a major problem in health care.
IHT also provided a unique networking opportunity for international medical professionals to discuss new techniques in medical care, and provided the exhibitors, including Bahrain, with an ideal platform to demonstrate their readiness to provide health tourism on an unprecedented scale. Visitors to the exhibition, facing rising healthcare costs in developed nations, will be impressed by the scope of the planning and the expertise of the providers, from state-of-the-art surgical suites to modern, technologically equipped lodgings geared to provide cheap healthcare to international travelers.
Health Care Services for the Elderly in the Middle East
Rising health care costs in developed nations have impacted not only government and industry but also individuals. The greatest hardships occur among the elderly, who operate within a fixed medical budget, juggling the cost of medications with the cost of living. Medical procedures, especially those described as cosmetic or optional, represent an out-of-pocket expense and are usually postponed. Medical tourism now provides the elderly with a means of obtaining those procedures. The cost of cosmetic surgery in the U.S. might be $2,500, but can be had overseas for $800 or less in a completely equipped hospital or clinic, with room and board adding only another 10 percent to that cost. As a result of this exhibition, health care services for the elderly in the Middle East will continue to grow and develop expertise.