There was an error in this gadget

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Change in the tide of medical tourism



  SHARE BOOKMARKPRINTEMAILRATING
Kenya's first test tube baby with Dr Joshua Noreh and the nurses who helped deliver her on may 8, 2006. Photo/ARTHUR OKWEMBA
Kenya's first test tube baby with Dr Joshua Noreh and the nurses who helped deliver her on may 8, 2006. Photo/ARTHUR OKWEMBA 
By ARTHUR OKWEMBA newsdesk@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Friday, September 14  2012 at  23:30
IN SUMMARY
  • Tanzania, South Sudan, India and Nigeria top list of couples seeking help at country’s IVF clinics, six years after the first test tube baby was born in Nairobi
Some of the clients come from countries which have no IVF services, says Dr Noreh, adding that those coming from countries with similar facilities choose Kenya due to easier access to eggs and sperm donated by Africans.
Kenyans in the diaspora
“We have Kenyans in the diaspora coming back for treatment here because it is easier to get a donated egg or sperm from a fellow African than in the foreign countries where the population is predominantly white,” he says.
“I think as a country we have done well in playing in the same league as some of the developed countries that have been offering this service for decades.
“A Kenyan IVF clinic registering success that is similar or even better than that in some of these countries is really encouraging.”
Dr Patel agrees, adding that the high standard of care offered at Aga Khan University Hospital is pulling the patients to the hospital and the IVF clinic. In the UK, patients have to undergo expensive IVF treatment or be put on a waiting list of the government’s National Health Service that offers the service free of charge although it takes long before a person is attended to.
With Kenyan IVF clinics charging about Sh300,000 and the flight time between the two countries being manageable, clients from the UK prefer to get services here.
But even as the IVF sector grows and foreign clients flock to Kenya, the country lacks a legal framework to regulate the operations of IVF clinics in the country.
The local clinics use guidelines from other countries with established IVF practice in combination with the general medical code of conduct and regulations.
Share This Story
  
Nairobi IVF Centre has adopted guidelines in the Commonwealth, particularly the UK where the first test tube baby, Louise Joy Brown, was born in 1978.
“Inasmuch as we are using internationally accepted guidelines, we need homegrown ones that tell us what is wrong and what is right within our context,” says Dr Noreh.
“Such a law or guideline will also help deal with clients who come with outrageous demands which when we refuse to fulfil they insist that there is no Kenyan law prohibiting that. If a law is in place you can refer them to it.”
Dr Patel says the Aga Khan University Hospital has crafted their own guidelines which they use to administer IVF services.
Sources within the Ministry of Health indicate that a taskforce that was set up to collect views from Kenyans and make recommendations on the nature and depth of IVF legislation did not complete its work due to financial constraints.
Lack of resources
Lack of resources and political will, as well as jostling in the ministries of Medical Services and that of Public Health and Sanitation, worsened the matter. Failure to offer allowances to taskforce members also compromised the pace at which business was conducted.
It is estimated that the remaining phases will cost not less than Sh15 million. By the time the team’s work came to halt, it had held public hearings in at least three districts and visited South Africa and India to learn about their IVF guidelines and legal framework.
The public hearings had managed to gather information on some of the key issues Kenyans want addressed.
The majority of the participants recommended the establishment of IVF clinics in government hospitals to make them cost-effective and accessible to infertile poor Kenyans.
Some of the clients come from countries which have no IVF services, says Dr Noreh, adding that those coming from countries with similar facilities choose Kenya due to easier access to eggs and sperm donated by Africans.
Kenyans in the diaspora
“We have Kenyans in the diaspora coming back for treatment here because it is easier to get a donated egg or sperm from a fellow African than in the foreign countries where the population is predominantly white,” he says.
“I think as a country we have done well in playing in the same league as some of the developed countries that have been offering this service for decades.
“A Kenyan IVF clinic registering success that is similar or even better than that in some of these countries is really encouraging.”
Dr Patel agrees, adding that the high standard of care offered at Aga Khan University Hospital is pulling the patients to the hospital and the IVF clinic. In the UK, patients have to undergo expensive IVF treatment or be put on a waiting list of the government’s National Health Service that offers the service free of charge although it takes long before a person is attended to.
With Kenyan IVF clinics charging about Sh300,000 and the flight time between the two countries being manageable, clients from the UK prefer to get services here.
But even as the IVF sector grows and foreign clients flock to Kenya, the country lacks a legal framework to regulate the operations of IVF clinics in the country.
The local clinics use guidelines from other countries with established IVF practice in combination with the general medical code of conduct and regulations.
Share This Story
 
Nairobi IVF Centre has adopted guidelines in the Commonwealth, particularly the UK where the first test tube baby, Louise Joy Brown, was born in 1978.
“Inasmuch as we are using internationally accepted guidelines, we need homegrown ones that tell us what is wrong and what is right within our context,” says Dr Noreh.
“Such a law or guideline will also help deal with clients who come with outrageous demands which when we refuse to fulfil they insist that there is no Kenyan law prohibiting that. If a law is in place you can refer them to it.”
Dr Patel says the Aga Khan University Hospital has crafted their own guidelines which they use to administer IVF services.
Sources within the Ministry of Health indicate that a taskforce that was set up to collect views from Kenyans and make recommendations on the nature and depth of IVF legislation did not complete its work due to financial constraints.
Lack of resources
Lack of resources and political will, as well as jostling in the ministries of Medical Services and that of Public Health and Sanitation, worsened the matter. Failure to offer allowances to taskforce members also compromised the pace at which business was conducted.
It is estimated that the remaining phases will cost not less than Sh15 million. By the time the team’s work came to halt, it had held public hearings in at least three districts and visited South Africa and India to learn about their IVF guidelines and legal framework.
The public hearings had managed to gather information on some of the key issues Kenyans want addressed.
The majority of the participants recommended the establishment of IVF clinics in government hospitals to make them cost-effective and accessible to infertile poor Kenyans.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this information on medical tourism. Last month, my brother visited Africa for Medical Tourism for his cosmetic surgery. We were really afraid first, but after many assurances by his company, felt relaxed. Glad that he took treatment from there.

    ReplyDelete

There was an error in this gadget