Panama Health Tourism

Health or medical tourism is a recently coined phrase that denotes tourists visiting other countries not only for sightseeing but also for medical treatment, taking advantage of the low costs prevailing in those countries. It is gaining in popularity as the medical costs in developed countries are becoming exorbitant. Patients can save as much as 50% and more on medical costs depending on the destination. Moreover many of the low cost countries like Panama also provide quality healthcare services matching with those of developed ones.

Panama has a history of having good healthcare system right from building of the Panama Canal in 1914 when doctors from U.S. helped in eradicating malaria, typhoid and other tropical diseases prevailing in Panama at that time. Since then many citizens of Panama have traveled to U.S. and Europe to get advanced degrees in medicine & technology and returned to Panama to set up a good healthcare system. Hospitals in Panama are provided with latest technology equipment imported from abroad. Latest CAT scanning machines, radiation therapy for cancer, three dimensional computerized reconstructions are all available at the hospitals in Panama.

Doctors and other healthcare professionals in Panama are well versed in English which is another plus point that increases the comfort level of tourists from U.S. Medical tourists can undergo dental implants in Panama by paying less than half the cost prevailing in U.S. taking advantage of the low taxes and wages there. Other popular medical procedures include plastic surgery, cardiology, assisted reproduction, ophthalmology etc. Tourists visiting Panama for medical purpose can not only avail quality healthcare at affordable prices but also enjoy the sunny beaches and other tourist attractions of Panama. Another incentive for tourists from U.S. to undergo medical treatment in Panama is that the tax deductible medical expense includes travel cost.

The popularity of alternate medicine also attracts tourists to travel abroad for treatment. Acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine, magnetic therapy, zoo therapy, prolotherapy etc. are some of the alternate medicines available in Panama. With the advent of internet, communication has become cheap and easy worldwide and there are many websites that provide information on the medical facilities available abroad. Pana health is an internet based organization in Panama that provides the service of linking prospective health tourists with doctors and hospitals affiliated to it. Many tourist operators also take care of the needs of foreigners like transportation, lodging etc. visiting Panama for medical purposes. Centro Medico Paitilla and Hospital Nacional are two hospitals in Panama City providing exclusive service to visiting foreign health tourists.

The geo thermal springs in El Valle and Chiriqui mountains serve as tourist cum health spot. Panama grows the None fruit abundantly which is known to aid in boosting the immune system and is popular with health conscious tourists. The doctors in Panama are well trained professionals and have received rave reviews from visiting foreign patients for their dedication and quality of service.

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Jean Bouttet

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