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Export of health services from developing countries: The case of Tunisia

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  • Lautier, Marc

Abstract

Although the subject of health services exports by developing countries has been much discussed, the phenomenon is still in its early stage, and its real implications are not yet clear. Given the rapid development in this area, little empirical data are available. This paper aims to fill this gap by providing reliable data on consumption of health services abroad (GATS mode 2 of international service supply). It starts by assessing the magnitude of the volume of international trade in health services. This is followed by an in-depth analysis of the case of Tunisia based on an original field research. Because of the high quality of its health sector and its proximity with Europe, Tunisia has the highest export potential for health services in the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA) Region. Health services exports may represent a quarter of Tunisia's private health sector output and generate jobs for 5000 employees. If one takes into account tourism expenses by the incoming patient (and their relatives), these exports contribute to nearly 1% of the country's total exports. Finally, this case study highlights the regional dimension of external demand for health services and the predominance of South-South trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Lautier, Marc, 2008. "Export of health services from developing countries: The case of Tunisia," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 101-110, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:67:y:2008:i:1:p:101-110
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    References listed on IDEAS

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