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More Kazakhstanis to seek medical help in South Korea with visa free regime

Jaw reconstruction surgery. Photo ©  Alisher Akhmetov Jaw reconstruction surgery. Photo © Alisher Akhmetov

The visa free regime between South Korea and Kazakhstan will increase the flow of health tourists in 2015, Tengrinews reports.

In an interview to Tengrinews, a Korean businessman Dong-Il Lim working in the field of medical tourism said that 15 thousand Kazakhstani health tourists would be traveling to South Korea in 2015. In comparison, according to the Department of Tourism in Seoul, 2,890 Kazakhstanis visited South Korea in 2014. The demand for medical services in South Korea among Kazakhstanis has increased 24 times since 2008.

According to Dong-Il Lim, the reason for the increase of the tourists flow is the visa free regime between Kazakhstan and South Korea. Although, Chinese make up the largest proportion of health tourists in South Korea. However, there is a significant number of Kazakhstani tourists too. “We are expecting the arrival of 15 thousand people from Kazakhstan,” the businessman said.

Dong-Il Lim’s company helped the Municipal Clinical Hospital #5 in Almaty and the Central Clinical Hospital to organize workshops and lectures for doctors in minimally invasive dentofacial surgery. In addition, South Korean counterparts conducted two surgeries to correct jaw and cheekbone defects. The operations were made by a Seoul surgeon. In particular, the South Korean team conducted a surgery on reconstruction of a jaw that took three hours. The patient suffering from a jaw defect could not eat properly.

The price of such surgery amounts to $27 thousand in South Korea. The Head of the Otorhinolaryngology Department at the Central Clinical Hospital Almaz Amangaliev said that such surgeries are available in Kazakhstan through the guaranteed health care (at the expense of the government). “We conduct such surgeries in Kazakhstan, but certainly not in the capacity South Korea does. For example, the Municipal Clinical Hospital #5 conducts 10-15 surgeries per year. In South Korea, one surgeon conducts from 400 to 700 operations. Our operations are minimally invasive, too,” Dr. Amangaliev said.

Dr. Amangaliev noted a high demand for such surgeries in Kazakhstan. He added that it was planned to increase the number of those operations in Kazakhstan.

By Gyuzel Kamalova

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