Tunisia will soon be able to claim its first private hospital, built by the Japanese group Tokushukai Medical Corporation. Tokushukai Medical Group, the world’s third largest medical institution, plans to build a private hospital in 2013. The hospital aims to target so-called “medical tourists” from both Europe and the Arab-speaking world.
“Tunisia is a North African, Arab country that provides advantages for private health care projects. However, Tunisia needs to work more in bringing in patients, whether from abroad or from Tunisia,” said Nejib Soussia, president of Carthage Assistance, the local branch of French-based health service provider Europ Assistance.
Soussia stated that the project will be built in Tunisia because the country has many advantages including competent workers and its ideal location for medical treatment. Soussia further added that his company may be working with Tokushukai Hospital to export clients and help the Japanese project get more attention. “Our work mainly consists of assisting people in the health sector and we may work with the hospital once it is built to bring more exposure to it,” he added.
Lotfi Boumediene, the representative of Tokushukai Medical Group in Tunisia, stated that the hospital, worth some 70 million dinars (35 million euros) will be built in Tunis and will employ 1,200 people, mainly Tunisian medical personnel.
According to Boumediene, the multidisciplinary hospital will have an initial capacity of 400 beds, adding that Tunisia aims at becoming a privileged destination for medical tourists, attracting foreigners who can enjoy spa procedures together with medical treatment.
Boumediene explained that other projects may also be built in Tunisia to provide a link for a fruitful partnership between Tunisia and Japan.
According to the Tunisian Health Ministry, some 72,000 foreign patients were registered in 2006. The patients came mainly from other Maghreb countries and Europe. In 2005 Tunis abolished the VAT tax on medical treatment for non-residents.