World Bank reported that Saudi Arabia’s medical tourism sector has been ranked among the top five in the world.

Jordan ranked first in the region and fifth globally as a medical tourism destination, according to a 2009/2010 World Bank report.

Private Hospitals Association (PHA) President Awni Bashir said that the ranking system took into account flight routes to the destination, standard of living, availability and quality of medical equipment, and availability of qualified medical staff.

Although patients from 102 countries came to Jordan for treatment in 2010, the medical tourism industry’s potential for growth is limited by the number of hospitals in the country.

“We treated patients from the US last year, but they came personally without being referred by insurance companies,” Bashir said.

PHA figures indicate that 1,200 of the 20,000 doctors registered at the Jordan Medical Association live and work abroad, 250 in the US.

According to the latest report issued by PHA, the number of Arab and foreign patients who received treatment in Jordan increased by 10 per cent last year compared to 2009.

Medical procedures on Arab and foreign patients included organ transplants, open heart surgeries, infertility treatment, laser vision corrections, bone operations and cancer treatment.