ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — With an eye toward extending its reach to lucrative markets in the Middle East, where population growth coupled with precarious lifestyle habits have raised the significance of treating and preventing chronic disease, Cigna International will sponsor the 8 th World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress, Sept. 27-30, 2015, in Orlando, Fla., the Medical Tourism Association® announced today.

“Governments across the Middle East and North African regions are aggressively pushing the development of medical infrastructure in the region to address the increased healthcare concerns. As a global health services provider, we welcome these initiatives and see this growth as an opportunity to expand our footprint in the region,” said Howard Gough, CEO for Middle East, North Africa, and Global Individual Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) of Cigna International, a company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security around the globe.

Renée-Marie Stephano, President of the Medical Tourism Association®, said chronic and non-communicable diseases have been an unfortunate fact of life in not only the Middle East and North Africa, but throughout the world. In fact, chronic and non-communicable diseases represent 63 percent of all deaths, 80 percent of which is located in middle- and low-income nations.

“Despite the best attempts by some governments to curb outbound travel for health services, patients are seeking treatments elsewhere for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cancer and genetic disorders like diabetes,” said Stephano, who noted the collaborative role Cigna International played in coordinating the sixth Global Ministerial Summit, held in conjunction with the Congress, in the Orange County Convention Center. “Avenues, such as the Ministerial Summit, serve as a forum for government leaders – many of whom are already appropriating millions of dollars to reinvigorate existing healthcare facilities and construct new venues that appeal to medical tourism patients — to rethink and evaluate strategies and, perhaps, form partnerships to facilitate progress.”

The Ministerial Summit attracts government decision-makers — including ministers of health, tourism and economic development, health attachés, trade commissioners, and consul generals — who represent nations that are providers of healthcare or those that purchase these services from abroad. Qualifying government officials can attend the summit at no cost by contacting (561) 792-6676 ext.809 or email: esperanza@medicaltourismassociation.com Participants, sponsors and invited speakers can keep abreast of Congress updates at www.MedicalTourismCongress.com.

About Cigna
Cigna Corporation (NYSE:CI) is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, and other related products including group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, and has more than 85 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, visit www.cigna.com .

About the Medical Tourism Association®
As the first membership-based international nonprofit trade organization and think-tank for the medical tourism and healthcare industries, the Medical Tourism Association® develops and implements creative and sustainable strategies for attracting direct foreign investments. The MTA provides advisory services to investors researching the industry and matches these financiers with medical tourism-related projects.  www.MedicalTourismAssociation.com

Contact: Joseph Harkins, 561-791-2000, jharkins@medicaltourismassociation.com

SOURCE Medical Tourism Association