Medical Tourism Overseas: A Challenge to Kuwait’s Healthcare System

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Orthopedic, Razi Hospital, Ministry of Health, Kuwait City, Kuwait



Introduction: The State of Kuwait spends large sums of governmental funds on sending patients abroad to receive medical treatment. This study aimed to explain the rationale behind receiving primary medical care overseas, given the expense and inconvenience, from the perspective of Kuwaiti patients whose applications were approved.
Methods: The survey was designed based on recommendations from an expert panel of physicians working in Kuwait and aimed to give insight into outbound medical services as perceived by the Kuwaiti population. Using Google Forms, the survey was sent electronically to 1067 patients who received treatment abroad sponsored by the government in the year 2018, and 590 responses were returned. The study itself explored reasons for seeking treatment abroad, finances, preferred countries, and whether there were touristic reasons behind such practice. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 26.
Results: Overall, males (52.3%) and females (47.7%) were equally represented in the study sample. The mean age for the study sample was 41±13.4 years. Approximately 45.3% of the respondents were married and had children. Of the remaining respondents, 21.9% were married with no children and 23.8% were single without children. All respondents received medical treatment abroad, and 52.3% of the married respondents and 47.7% of the single respondents stated that they received treatment once and more than once, respectively.
Conclusion: Most Kuwaiti citizens do not have faith in the Kuwaiti medical system. Therefore, heavy investments are needed to send patients abroad.