BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – With the Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC) set to be the first healthcare institution in Borneo to perform liver transplants, the Ministry of Health is keen to promote medical tourism as a way to support the country’s economic diversification efforts.

During the Legislative Council meeting on Thursday, health minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Isham Hj Jaafar said the establishment of private healthcare institutions in Brunei has increased the number of hospital beds and healthcare expertise in the country.

Alongside JPMC, the Gleneagles Jerudong Park Medical Centre and Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre — which houses the Brunei Cancer Centre and Brunei Neuroscience Stroke Centre — are among the private healthcare centres offering advanced medical services in Brunei.

“If we look at the past ten years, the country has never pushed for medical tourism because we could not even meet domestic needs,” the health minister said. He added that despite being a late player, the sultanate could still leverage on the niche services offered by these institutions.

“For the past two or three years, the government, JPMC and Gleneagles JPMC have joined expos outside of the country to highlight our centres of excellence, mainly in the areas of cardiovascular, stroke and cancer [treatment]”.

YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Isham said although Brunei lags behind in promoting medical tourism, there are more than 10 foreign patients each year seeking treatment in the sultanate for illnesses such as cardiovascular disease.

“One of the factors that we have to consider is the cost [of the procedure] and our neighboring countries who are way ahead in promoting their own medical tourism,” he said.