A well-deserved award for a country that has Hvar as the birthplace of European medical Tourism in 1868. So, stating that Croatia is a newcomer to the Health Tourism arena is a Myth.
At the occasion of the new award to the Croatian National Tourist Board at the world-leading Travel and tourism show ITB Berlin NOW 2021, we had the pleasure to talk to Dr. Sherif Hassan, a well-known US based medical doctor who is a great connoisseur of the Croatian medical tourism scene.
Dr. Hassan is a Practicing Functional Medicine Physician at the crossroads of Medicine, Technology, and Regulation. Dr. Hassan is a Medical Informatics Enthusiast with a vision about the future of medicine as a consolidated science of Functional Medicine, Artificial Intelligence, Pharmacogenomics, and Stem Cells. His passion for Travel had led him to pursue the admix of Health Tourism. Working out of Washington DC, he is involved in creating Medical Tourism Programs utilizing Integrative Medical models, Personalized Medicine Algorithms, and Peptide Therapy.
Moreover, setting up a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) is the cornerstone of his work. Dr. Hassan is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and a Consultant for the International Society of Travel Medicine and the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, and a Member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. It is worth mentioning that Dr Hassan is the representative of Croatian based brand HTI – Health Tourism Industry, for the USA, but also engaged as a Chief Medical Officer at LUXHEAL, an American-Croatian Startup Health Tourism company, the core business of which is an agile software with applications engineered to service all the stakeholders in the Health Tourism Industry.
Dr. Hassan, what are your impressions after hearing about Croatia winning the medical tourism award announced at ITB on Wednesday, March 10, during all virtual ITB Berlin event?
Congratulations to Croatia for winning the first ITB Berlin Medical Tourism Destination Award!
It is a well-deserved award for a country that has Hvar as the birthplace of European medical Tourism in 1868. So, stating that Croatia is a newcomer to the Health Tourism arena is a Myth.
Let me nail down hereunder the five key points of how Croatia achieved this accomplishment:
- The numbers say: In the year 2019, Croatia was visited by around 15.5 million foreign tourists; this number would account for more than triple the Croatian population. Out of these, about 920,000 came for Tourism and Health reasons, and 570,000 visited entirely for health-related needs, including one-day health visitors. 50 % seems to be the magic number for Croatia, where 50% of tourists have visited Croatia more than three times, and 50% of medical tourists have returned for more than six visits. Amazing!
- Croatia centers excellence: unknown except for the avid client is the fact that Croatia excels in Orthopedic, Cardiothoracic, as well as Neurosurgeries and more importantly, organ transplants where Croatia leads the world in the number of Organ transplant cases in ratio to its population. It is no secret that Croatia is a leader in Dental care. Some of the Dental centers I have visited would supersede Dental clinics on the United States East Coast. Several Croatian Dental clinics have branched off from core dental procedures to treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea with appliances and laser procedures. Croatia is also a favorite destination for Cosmetic Procedures.
- Ahead in peptide Therapy: As a Functional Medicine Physician, I view peptides as the medicines of the future. They are small Amino acid chains that command human cells to form specific proteins, order the release of precise hormones, or perform distinct functions. Body Protection Compound 157 (BPC 157) has been thoroughly researched at the University of Zagreb and used at some of the Integrative medicine clinics in Croatia. This Peptide has variable anti-inflammatory functions, thus Improving Muscle, tendon, intestinal inflammation, recovery from Dental and Bone diseases, and surgeries; it is also used in Sports Medicine, Regenerative Anti-aging medicine.
- Anchored Assets: Croatia is rich in Thermal Spas with water temperature ranges from 33 to 96 Degrees Centigrade. Its waters are famous for having low Radium levels that do not only allow for its frequent and repetitive use for bathing, but it is also safe for drinking. The water composition is unique, where it has a near-optimal concentration of 42 minerals in most of Croatia’s natural springs.
- A budding spot in digital health. Croatia’s young generation is well versed in IT, and some of the most innovative European digital health companies have their technical teams and coders based in Croatia.
Lastly, I heard some exciting news about a new Medical School built in Pula, Istria, which will be a significant step in flourishing Healthcare and Tourism in this Haven.