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Hospital network sees medical tourist numbers increasing

By Mao Weihua in Urumqi and Xu Wei in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2017-01-17 08:16

An online network of hospitals is turning the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region into an attractive destination for medical tourists from Central Asia, health officials said.

The system, launched in the summer, allows patients seeking treatment overseas to consult Chinese doctors for free and book other services, such as flights, airport pickups, accommodation and even city tours.

Anar, 37, spent two weeks receiving treatment for migraines and dizziness in her native Almaty, Kazakhstan, before she used the network to connect with the Second Affiliated Hospital of Xinjiang Medical University in Urumqi. Doctors advised her to travel to China for treatment, which she did in September last year.

"The ailment had been troubling me for a long time and there were simply no signs of improvement," she said. "Here (in Urumqi) it only took a week to recover."

Anar said the standard of care and medical equipment in Urumqi is better than in her home country.

Doctors in Kazakhstan had diagnosed a problem with her cerebral blood flow, but their treatment proved unsuccessful. In Urumqi, medics used drugs to reduce muscle tension, which stopped her migraines, she said.

The network is the latest effort by health authorities in Urumqi to boost the lure of the region to tourists through improved medical services.

The Xinjiang People's Hospital has handled nearly 6,000 cases involving patients from Central Asian countries since the start of 2015, of which 305 trips have resulted in the hospitalization of a patient.

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