Global Health Equity

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Medical Tourism

As global medical business in the health care continues to expand, its effects continue to challenge global health equity particularly in the developing world.  Increasingly government and for profit healthcare facilities are actively seeking medical tourists with an eye to tourism and to increase foreign investment. Our research in this area looks at the implications of medical tourism from many perspectives such as what are the consequences of selling health services to the global health traveller and the extent to which medical tourism affects the access to health service to its own citizens. Little is known about patient safety and quality care in transnational medical travel.  It is clear that better reporting and documentation of these practices need to be enhanced if we are to have a better understanding of the true consequences and health implications of medical tourism. Our interests and research will continue to look at the ethical, social, cultural, and economic dimensions of medical tourism in today’s global world.

It has been speculated that the travel of international patients from more-developed nations such as Canada to developing nations via MT is exacerbating health inequities in destination countries. Meanwhile, evidence is lacking that clearly demonstrates this is indeed the case. Alternatively, evidence is also lacking to support claims that MT is having a positive impact in developing nations through enhancing health care infrastructure and bringing revenues into the public sector. Research into MT will allow for valuable insights to be gleaned early on in the global conversation about MT, thus allowing Canadian patients to make choices regarding engaging in and ethical and equitable MT, Canadian health care providers and administrators to provide needed guidance to patients. Also allowing Canadian health policy makers to ensure that we are meeting our normative and legal obligations to improve global health equity and are not undermining efforts to expand universal health care and sustainable health system financing efforts in developing nations.

CCGH 2013 Poster Presentation

An Overview of Mexico’s Medical Tourism Industry