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Youssef Abuzaher

Vice Chairman of Executive Committee, International Hospital

Essa Al-Essa

Co-founder & CEO, Asnan Tower

New medical facilities in Kuwait offer not only the best equipment and treatments but also some of the best medical professionals trained around the world.
What were the major factors behind the opening of the facility?

YOUSSEF ABUZAHER Because of the division between the public and private sector of healthcare in Kuwait, many private companies are finding a way to enhance public healthcare provision. And even though the public sector is rapidly expanding, there will always be the need for private care. It is important to note that 15 or 20 years ago, the scarcity of insurance for private customers was proportionally stalling the growth of private healthcare. This has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Now, almost everyone can afford coverage, whether via their company or privately, which means many more people can attend private hospitals. When it comes to our healthcare provision, we specialize in secondary care. As trauma and tertiary care is mostly done by the government and is heavily subsidized due to its extreme costs, not many people are looking for these services within the private sector. It simply would be too expensive to pay from your own pocket for a transplant, for example. That is why, we are focused mostly on secondary care, including plastic surgery, recovery care, and so on, while tertiary care remains in the domain of the public sector.

ESSA AL-ESSA In creating Asnan Tower, we wanted to bring an all-American team of specialists and dental professionals from every field of dentistry, and we have seen significant success in a short amount of time. We created a website asnan.com, which has become extremely popular in the country, especially in the medical and dental community. Then, we developed a magazine to help people understand dental issues, emergencies, post-operative treatments, and, most importantly, better oral hygiene habits. Dentistry starts and ends with taking proper care of your teeth. At the time, in 2003, Arabic content on the internet was negligible, and our website became popular. We took the lead and provided the “Asnan-pedia” or dental encyclopedia. We worked hard on the brand and our names, so when the actual opening of the clinic took place, we received a high number of patients. Our intention was to get recognized and be special; however, the main goal was always to educate the public about how they should take care of their teeth.

What potential does Kuwait have to become a destination for medical tourism?

YA The local business sector offers several opportunities, especially for customers from the region. With our outstanding, highly certified doctors, who operate in the private sector, Kuwait could indeed become the space for medical tourism. We are already seeing the demand, primarily for cosmetic and bariatric surgery, which is why we want to expand our provision in these areas. Client retention is a key consideration in our field and knowing that people trust us is a great achievement. It is extremely important for us to employ the highest quality practitioners. As many of our patients are expats, we take pride in hiring professionals taught and experienced in Western countries. This plays a huge role, especially when the stakes are high and the care complex. If the government manages to match these huge projects with a highly specialized staff at all levels, there is a great chance that soon enough no Kuwaiti citizens will no longer go abroad for any kind of healthcare provision. Time will tell, but I am optimistic about the progress the local healthcare sector has been making.

Are you currently expanding vertically or horizontally?

EAE We are doing both vertical and horizontal integration. We are opening another clinic, the biggest dental center in the world, with 103 dental chairs. In addition, we can grow our presence in the market with higher quality, more robust equipment, and technologies. We had two options when we succeeded, either open several branches or grow in one big place. We decided on the latter because it provides many advantages. Being based in one place attracts the best doctors, which brings in more patients because they seek excellence. The best marketing is word of mouth, and quality is the essence of such marketing. Furthermore, as we keep doctors in one place, they become united. Also, we are able to buy the best equipment. Additionally, we focus on giving comfort to patients. The first dental visit is an important part of this equation, which is why we have Asnan Kids.

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