As people across the world seek to enhance their beauty, Dubai saw a surge of Kenyan medical tourists seeking plastic surgery.
In 2016 alone, 55,530 Kenyans flew to Dubai expressing a desire to enhance their beauty and lose weight making the country one of the top five African countries providing medical tourists to the Gulf State.
Pouncing on the data from the Medical Tourism Council in Dubai, the country’s officials descended on Nairobi marketing the country as a nip and tuck hub on top of being a tourist destination.
Most Kenyans flocking Dubai hospitals asked various medical services including cosmetic surgery, dental, bones and muscles, nerves, obesity, fertility and eye treatments.
Wealthy Kenyans however visited these hospitals for various cosmetic procedures which include rhinoplasty (nose surgery), face lift and hair transplants.
Others are flying to the country for bariatrics (weight loss treatments) which include gastric bypass and gastric band procedures.
Those who go for dental procedures do teeth implants, root canals and fix the colour, position, shape, size and alignment of their teeth. Kenyans also go for hip and knee replacement, spinal, brain surgeries and to treat sports injuries.
For the shortest physiotherapy session in one of Dubai’s accredited hospitals, for instance, Kenyans are paying at least Sh140,000 (4,800 dirhams).
“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 Layla Mohamed Al Marzouqi, during the second edition of Dubai tourism stakeholders’ roadshow in Nairobi. Dr. Al Marzouqi is the director of Medical Tourism Council in Dubai.
Nigeria accounts for the largest number of health tourists to Dubai from Africa, followed by Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia and Niger, according to the Dubai Tourism Department.