Yucatan a Growing Hub for Medical TourismBy Alessa Flores | Fri, 07/19/2019 - 10:27
Q: The state of Yucatan has announced a near US$1 billion private investment plan. How will the health sector benefit?
A: Part of the investment will be allocated to three hospitals that are being developed in the state. We expect this will help enrich the sector’s offer in Yucatan and strengthen the state’s natural vocation for medical tourism, as well as endorse it as a leader in this sector in southeastern Mexico.
The first of the investments will be from Winehealth, the health and sports corporation. A hospital center devoted to medical tourism with a domestic and global focus on sports will be constructed through an estimated investment of MX$850 million (US$43.8 million). The center will be divided into four large units: medical assistance, sports, academic activity and accommodations. This project will generate 800 direct jobs, of which 100 will be doctors. The second will be an investment of MX$900 million (US$46.4 million) from Faro del Mayab on a 15,000m2 land parcel. This expects to generate 200 direct jobs. The last investment, comes from EME Red Hospitalaria with MX$106 million (US$5.5 million), 32 medical specialties and state-of-the art technology that will generate 1,300 indirect and direct jobs.
Q: What lines of action are being carried out by the Yucatan government to maximize the potential of medical tourism?
A: Yucatan is a great place to invest because of its high economic growth rate and its position as the safest state in Mexico. Its geographical location also enables the state to easily communicate with other regions. Yucatan is third place in economic growth and according to IMSS, it has the third-lowest unemployment rate at 1.8 percent. The state also has the necessary infrastructure and services to exploit its potential in medical tourism. Yucatan is easy to access by air, with Houston and Panama two hours away, Miami 1 hour and 45 minutes away and Colombia three hours away. As a result, medical tourists from Central and South America could avoid flying to Houston or Miami and instead be treated in Yucatan at more affordable rates, with high-quality infrastructure and services. Yucatan has excellent potential for medical tourism, given its floating population of Americans, Canadians, Cubans, Colombians and Venezuelans, who make up the state’s potential market of about 20,000 individuals.
Q: How does the health industry and medical tourism contribute to Yucatan’s economic development?
A: Medical tourism produces a significant financial spillover in the state. To maintain and improve the conditions offered to our visitors, medical tourism’s stakeholders are increasingly working in a more articulated way to provide patients with the best experience.
In addition to a wide offer of medical or aesthetic procedures, this experience includes the support of facilitators, gastronomy, wellness and culture, which leads to a greater economic spillover, benefiting the entire value chain. According to a 2018 Ministry of Health study, Yucatan is one of the few states with the human capital and the required and appropriate infrastructure to deliver quality services in the sector.
Q: What are the priority areas for the state to strengthen public health and its management?
A: In general terms, our health strategy is to strengthen prevention, health education and timely disease detection. We are working to strengthen medical coverage at the level of primary care to increase medical accessibility. This government has also created the Médico a Domicilio and 24/7 Medical programs, designed to increase medical care for the vulnerable population.
With Médico a Domicilio we take care of older adults, people with disabilities, prostrate patients and pregnant women in their homes. These people receive care through one of our health brigades. We are present in 40 municipalities, working for the benefit of families in 60,000 homes. The 24/7 Medical program operates in 25 municipalities in the state, benefiting 112,208 people by providing them with complementary medical attention when the health centers in their localities are closed.