Malaysia with the support of the government is emerging as one of the top medical tourism destinations in Asia. The government of Malaysia has taken a proactive role in promoting the country for medical tourism. One of the ways the government is helping the medical tourism in the country is by implementing a Green Lane System in the main entry points of the country. The lane is being implemented by the Immigration Department of Malaysia to expedite clearance for medical travelers in the customs department to make the entry of the patients faster and easier.

Malaysia offers patients savings of up to 30%- 50% of the cost of medical procedures compared to the cost in other Asian countries such as Thailand. For example, a coronary bypass surgery usually costs between $11,000 and $13,000 in Malaysia. The same procedure is performed for as much as $20,000 in neighboring countries.

As part of the efforts to promote the country as a good medical tourism destination, the country will participate as exhibitor in the Healthcare Travel and Exhibition Conference that will be held in the Al Bustan Hotel in Dubai in November 2009.

The Cebu Health and Wellness Council (CHWC), an organized group composed of health and wellness businesses in Cebu province Philippines, is looking at overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to promote the country and the province as good destinations for medical tourism.

This was revealed by Nelia Navarro, a provincial director of the Department of Tourism-Cebu. Cebu with the help of the private and public sectors, is positioning itself as a premier destination in Asia for health and wellness.

At the moment, the CHWC is encouraging OFWs to try the services so they can hopefully serve as the industry’s ambassadors. Cebu positions itself as a premier location for healthcare services combining health, business and leisure facilities in the province.

“Our first target is to attract all Filipinos around the world to avail of the best health and wellness services we have here”, Navarro sai.

The CHWC believes that the Filipinos overseas can attract international patients to the country beginning with their foreign friends. They can then help promote medical tourism to the country through word-of-mouth. The group is already in talks with Filipino organization abroad regarding promoting Cebu as a medical tourism destination.

The Philippines is competing with countries like India, Thailand and Singapore as medical tourist destinations in Asia. Patients can save thousands of dollars in medical procedures in the Philippines Navarro said. The medical tourism in Asia earned US $ 120 billion in 2006. Just six years before that in 2000, Asia earned only $40 billion dollars.

A promising liver cancer treatment trial that was conducted in Singapore last year, headed by liver surgeon Pierce Chow of the Singapore General Hospital will be turned into a full-scale clinical trial next year. The clinical trial that will begin next year will involve 500 patients and will be conducted in 12 countries.

In the trial conducted in Singapore 35 patients were covered- 25 from Singapore, 10 patients from Malaysia, South Korea and Myanmar. The results of the study were said to be very promising. Tumors in the liver of the patients shrank, disappeared or remained stable.

The results of the trial are very encouraging for liver cancer patients especially for those who will be part of the trials who otherwise would not be able to afford getting any cancer treatments. Liver cancer is usually treated by removing cancerous cells from the liver. Only one out of every five patients is usually operated on.

Liver cancer is very fatal. In Singapore about 400 patients die from the illness every year. It is the 3rd largest killer cancer in the nation. There are at least 400 cases of liver cancer in Singapore each year. Western countries do not really pay as much attention to liver cancer because it is predominantly a disease experienced in Third World Countries. The incidence of liver cancer in Asia and Africa is higher by up to 50% than in countries in the United States or in Europe. The primary causes of this type of cancer are Hepatitis B & C which have high occurrence in Asia.

A child with his heart protruding from his chest was brought to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences last week. The child suffers from a rare defect of having his heart outside his chest and the doctors at the AIIMS are fighting to keep the child alive. The child was brought to the hospital from Bihar by his father Chander Manjhi. The mother was still in the hospital after having given birth by c-section when the child was brought to the AIIMS.

The father had to travel for 24 hours to bring the child to the hospital. By the time the child arrived at the hospital, the baby was already dehydrated with chances of infection. According to A.K. Bisoi, a cardiologist at the hospital, the child is suffering from a rare disease called Thoracic Ectopia Cordis, a rare birth defect involving the abnormal placement of the heart. This case can result in the heart protruding from the chest or being situated in the neck or in the abdominal cavity. The disease is rare and happened only in five to nine cases per one million births. The mortality in such cases is very high with babies mostly dying shortly after birth.

The child will undergo a rare surgery under a team of five doctors. The hospital is conducting the surgery for free because of the economic condition of the child’s parents. The surgery is not the only procedure that will be performed on the child. The treatment for the baby may take many months. Aside from performing surgery on the child’s heart, the chest wall also has to be reconstructed. If the operation is successful, it will be another achievement by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) of Kuwait is looking at South Korean Hospitals to be possible destinations for Kuwaiti patients. The MoH is also considering sending doctors from Kuwait to hospitals in South Korea to train especially in the field of spinal cord surgery. MoH Assistant Undersecretary for Assisted Healthcare, Qais Al-Dowairy, said that the hospitals in South Korea use sophisticated microscopic lenses for the procedure. Al-Dowairy also noted how the hospitals in South Korea used advanced equipment and had skilled workers.

South Korea aims to become a top destination for medical tourism and is targeting foreign patients from Arab states. To foster better relationships between the two nations and to improve their bilateral medical relations, Kuwait will also be receiving South Korean doctors soon. An agreement has been carried out wherein Kuwait will host South Korean doctors that specialize in orthopedic and cancer surgery. The MoH is also considering sending doctors to South Korea for further training. This process could lead to the improvement of the specialties of doctors from both nations.

Korea expects the number of foreign patients to receive treatments in the country to reach nearly 50,000 by the end of the year. There are more than 200 hospitals in South Korea that expressed interest in providing healthcare to patients from Kuwait.