Health Tourism Prevalence among Western Balkans Citizens During the COVID-19 Pandemic Period
Drita Maljichi1, Bernard Tahirbegolli2, 3, *, Driton Maljichi4, Iliriana Alloqi Tahirbegolli2, 5, Troy E. Spier6, Ahmed Kulanić7, 8, Irida Agolli Nasufi9, Milica Kovač-Orlandić10
Identifiers and Pagination:Year: 2023
E-location ID: e187494452303270
Publisher ID: e187494452303270
Article History:Received Date: 17/11/2022
Revision Received Date: 08/03/2023
Acceptance Date: 13/03/2023
Electronic publication date: 12/05/2023
Collection year: 2023
open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
This study seeks to evaluate the prevalence of and the association between receiving medical care abroad and the level of trust that citizens from the Western Balkans—Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Montenegro—have in their healthcare systems.
The study is cross-sectional and was carried out during three months (July 25-October 30, 2021) through a self-reported questionnaire administered through the Google Forms platform. The study included approximately two-thousand citizens (N=2,356) aged eighteen (18) to seventy (70).
More than one-third (37.2%) of respondents stated that they or a relative had received healthcare services abroad during the last twelve (12) months. Citizens of Montenegro had the highest prevalence of receiving healthcare services abroad at 43.8%, followed by those from Bosnia and Herzegovina at 39%. No statistically significant difference was found in the level of trust in the healthcare system in the country between those who received healthcare services abroad (4.41±2.88) (out of 10) and those who did not (4.48±2.81) (t= -0.587, p=0.557).
We ultimately conclude that more than one-third of the participants in our study have traveled abroad for healthcare purposes, with females, those living in urban areas, and those who have previously had a negative healthcare experience in their home country all being more likely to rely on health tourism.