Intermediaries, Facilitators, Agents, Guides: Steering International Medical Travel to Malaysia

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 9:00 AM
Room: 423
Oral Presentation
Meghann ORMOND , Wageningen University, Netherlands
Malaysian authorities’ desire for foreign patient-consumers from higher-income countries and the spectacular medical tourism infrastructure being developed to cater to them exists in contrast to the actual everyday flows of intra-regional lower-income patient-consumers who, comprising the bulk of medical travellers to Malaysia, have been fundamental in both constituting and sustaining the country’s medical travel destinations. This paper draws on interviews with medical travel companies in Malaysia and Indonesia that promote Malaysian private health care to prospective patient-consumers from both higher-income and lower-income countries. It compares and contrasts the functions of these companies, their relationships with patient-consumers and the ways in which they represent and negotiate the differences between health care in patients’ countries of origin and in Malaysia.