Dubai Surgeons have stormed Kenya to scout for wealthy ‘patients’ yearning for cosmetic surgery procedures as Kenyans’ obsession with beauty increases.
Reports indicate that Dubai officials toured Nairobi last week to market their country as not only a tourist destination, but as a nip and tuck hub.
Over the years, more Kenyans in pursuit of enhancing their attractiveness and lose weight have trooped to the Middle East country hospitals, which have earned a name with their plastic surgeons having performed on the who’s who of Beverly Hills.
Kenya makes it to the top five countries from the African continent of citizens visiting Dubai as health tourists according to Dr Layla Mohamed Al Marzouqi, the director of Medical Tourism Council in Dubai. Statistics from Tourism Department show that, in last year alone, the City hosted 55,530 Kenyan medical tourists.
Cosmetic surgery, dental, bones and muscles, nerves, obesity, fertility and eye treatments, are the most sought services by Kenyans according to Marzouqi.
She said that most wealthy Kenyans toured Dubai for rhinoplasty (nose surgery), face lift and hair transplants—all cosmetic surgery procedures. Bariatric (weight loss treatments), which include gastric bypass and gastric band procedures also make it to the list.
“We are welcoming people who are healthy and coming for health enhancement, health checkup, anti-aging treatment, clinical spa, we are putting this into one basket and we are calling it health tourism in Dubai,” said Dr Marzouqi during the second edition of Dubai tourism stakeholders’ roadshow in Nairobi. “In Dubai your health experience could be a much needed vacation,’’ she said.
Nigeria leads in number of Medical tourists in Dubai from Africa, followed by Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia and Niger, according to the Dubai Tourism Department.
“The largest percentage (39 per cent) came seeking treatment for bones and muscles, followed by 20 per cent and 18 per cent who came for skin and eye treatments respectively,” said Dr Al Marzouqi.
A significant number traveled to Dubai for cancer, heart surgeries, Eye procedures including cataract surgery and laser eye surgery.
“You would forget you came for treatment because you would be treated like a king or queen that you are,” said Dr Sameer Kumar, a manager at Thumbay Hospital.
The managing director of Travel Fix Tours and Travel Janet Malaba, a firm that facilitates trips to Dubai revealed that packages for medical tourists to Dubai include three or four nights in a hotel providing bed and breakfast, airport transfer, desert safari with barbecue dinner, belly dancing show and dhow dinner cruise.