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Gov’t facilitates entry of Yemenis, Sudanese for medical treatment

Measures expected to help salvage medical tourism sector

By Dana Al Emam - Mar 02,2017 - Last updated at Mar 02,2017

AMMAN — The Private Hospitals Association (PHA) on Thursday commended the government's recent measures to facilitate the entry of Yemenis and Sudanese seeking medical treatment in Jordan.

The Cabinet on Wednesday endorsed a new process for issuing visas for Sudanese and Yemeni nationals to enter the Kingdom, in a bid to promote the medical tourism sector.

Airline companies will be required to provide lists of names of Yemenis wishing to enter Jordan to the Interior Ministry, which will issue visas and security clearances within 48 hours, according to a statement by the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

Meanwhile, Sudanese over 50 years old and in possession of at least $5,000 will be granted entry at border crossings. They will be allowed no more than two accompanying persons. 

In response to the loosened regulations, PHA President Fawzi Hammouri said the move was “very positive” and would help the sector attract some patients that found easier procedures in competing destinations, including India, Tunisia and Turkey.

Meanwhile, he added, the age limit for Sudanese patients remains restrictive.

He noted that the PHA had requested from the government to follow similar measures to the ones taken by the Egyptian government, whereby women, children under 15 and men above 50 were exempted from the visa requirement.

But keeping the visa condition for Yemenis is “good and helpful”, the sector leader said.

“We still hope that such regulations will expand further to include other Arab states, such as Libya and Iraq, as well as African countries like Chad, Nigeria and Ethiopia,” he told The Jordan Times over the phone, citing plans to expand the targeted markets.

During the Global Healthcare Travel Forum (GHTF), held in Amman earlier this week, Prime Minister Hani Mulki highlighted the government’s commitment to tackling impediments facing the medical tourism sector and to taking the necessary measures to boost the industry’s performance.

Amending visa regulations within a couple of days is a sign of the government’s seriousness in dealing with the issue, said PHA President Hammouri.

He cited a PHA report showing that medical institutions keep 35 per cent of revenues from medical tourism, while the remaining 65 per cent feed some 20 sectors, including aviation, transportation, hotels, restaurants and malls.

 

In previous remarks, Hammouri said that restricting some Arab nationalities from entering the Kingdom for treatment had resulted in a decline in numbers in the past two years. This drop reached 80 per cent among Libyans, 50 per cent among Yemenis and 48 per cent among Sudanese.

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