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Medical Tourism Soaring Impressive Heights In India And Showing An Inclined Graph!

Updated on June 15, 2015

Travelling to new places and discovering new things that are engulfed with the pristine touch of Mother Nature is like a never ending love story…! For every travel junky, the grandeur of new vistas cast a spell of magic and if you are an adventure freak then the fun is of course unlimited! Every nook and corner of this world has fascinating destinations and people choose their travel according to the budget, season and individual preferences of what thrills and chills them!

Medical Tourism: A Great Concept Breaking Barriers For Best Treatment!

Speaking of tourism, health or medical tourism tops the list due to its prime importance and it’s heartening to see the medical industry and tourism sector joining hands and covering a broad spectrum of quality medical services. This concept is truly encouraging since the global visitors enjoy their sojourn along with getting treated under the most cost-effective and the best medical care. There are many countries that has been making their mark and they have their own strengths and expertise to siphon the visitors.

Medical Tourism
Medical Tourism | Source

Have a look at the towering global destinations that has made a mark and has been in the arena of medical tourism:

Medical Tourism Destinations

Asia/Middle East
The Americas
Europe
Africa
Other
China
Argentina
Belgium
South Africa
Australia
India
Brazil
Czech Republic
Tunisia
Barbados
Israel
Canada
Germany
 
Cuba
Jordan
Colombia
Hungary
 
Jamaica
Malaysia
Costa Rica
Italy
 
 
Singapore
Ecuador
Latvia
 
 
South Korea
Mexico
Lithuania
 
 
Philippines
United States
Poland
 
 
Taiwan
 
Portugal
 
 
Turkey
 
Romania
 
 
United Arab Emirates
 
Russia
 
 
 
 
Spain
 
 
Source : Medical Tourism: Taking off in a big way in India by Prof. Vijay Bhangale

India Making Its Mark In The Global Arena Of Medical Tourism

There are many factors that boost up India’s emergence in this field and it has capitalized on these strengths effectively. The top quality healthcare services provided at comparatively very low costs, the expertise of the doctors, the high-end health care facilities, the personalized care and even the cultural factors and the natural endowments of India contribute to the growth.

There are startling facts and figures that also support the choice of India for example in the field of Heart Bypass procedure costs, for procedures involving hip and knee replacement, gastric bypass, cosmetic surgeries, paediatric surgeries, and the list goes on. Major hospital chains like Tata, Fortis, Apollo Hospitals, etc. have also made great investments and have set up ultra-modern hospitals to cater to the international visitors.

The Pros Tilting the Balance To India In Medical Tourism

Statistics show that India receives about 1.27 million visitors seeking medical assistance from different corners of the world like US, UK, Canada, Bangladesh, China , Sri Lanka, to name a few. It is a sight for sore eyes that even well-developed countries make a move to India for medical treatment after weighing the pros and cons. Some of the key factors that siphon them are the new and innovative policies offered by the Insurance sector, the cheap international travel, the optimized pharmaceutical industry, the expert professional staffs, and the hospitality and culture bound wellness treatments that India is famous for.

Here is the table that shows aptly the vast and wide difference in treatment costs that a patient incurs in India compared to other countries that promote medical tourism:

Cost Competitiveness

Procedures
US
India
Thailand
Singapore
Malaysia
South Korea
Mexico
Costa Rica
UAE
Heart bypass
1,33,000
7,000
22,000
16,300
12,000
31,700
27,000
24,100
40,900
Heart valve replacement
1,40,000
9,500
25,000
22,000
13,400
42,000
30,000
30,000
50,600
Hip replacement
57,000
7,020
12,700
12,700
7,500
10,600
13,900
11,400
46,000
Knee replacement
53,000
9,200
11,500
11,500
12,000
11,800
14,900
10,700
40,200
Face Lift
16,000
4,800
5,000
5,000
6,400
6,600
11,300
4,900
n/a
Lap. Gastric Bypass
52,000
9,300
13,000
13,000
12,700
9,300
11,000
n/a
n/a
Source : MONOGRAPH 26/2013 Medical Tourism in India: Progress, Opportunities and Challenges by K.R.Shanmugam

Medical Visas And Eligibility Factors

The Government has certain rules and regulations regarding medical visas and this is also called as the M-visas. There is also a concept of Visa-on-arrival system for international tourists which allow them to stay in India for 30 days along with maximum two attendants. These medical attendants who are blood relatives are allowed to accompany the patient under separate visas named as the Medical Attendant visa with the same validly as the visa of the patient. The medical visa allows 3 entries during a year and has some eligibility factors to be met.

  • The visitors from Kenya, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Nigeria Israel, should have had the Yellow fever vaccination certificate. They should also have had the Oral Polio Vaccination certificate to prove that they have had the vaccination six weeks prior to entry.
  • All Medical documents should be cleared by Indian Missions and Post and confirmed that the request is genuine.
  • Details should also be provided to show that initial medical treatment is taken in the country of origin and the patient has been recommended for more specialized treatment.
  • Medical visas are granted only to reputed and recognized medical centers in India and some of the prime treatments are given top priority.

Indian Visa
Indian Visa | Source

Medical Treatments And The Booming Segments in India

India offers affordable medical treatment packages and there has been no stopping this progress as it is backed by sturdy features like specialized professionals, sophisticated medical instruments and of course fractional costs comparatively. It has been making its mark in several dominating fields like

  • Cardiology
  • Urology
  • Neuro and Spine surgeries
  • Ophthalmology
  • Cancer treatment
  • Gastroenterology
  • Infertility treatment
  • Oncology
  • Bariatric
  • Dentistry
  • Ent
  • Minimally Invasive surgery


Leading States That Acts As A Magnetic Force In Medical Tourism

Millions of visitors arrive in India for different treatments and in this vast country there are some important states that provide superlative medical care. Some of them even provide Alternative branches of medicine like Ayurveda, Unani, Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Siddha, which gives India an edge over other countries.

Ayurvedic Medicines
Ayurvedic Medicines | Source
Acupuncture Therapy
Acupuncture Therapy | Source
Homeopathy Medicines
Homeopathy Medicines | Source

The three top leading states that have been acting as a magnetic force for the international visitors are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi. There are statistics to show that about 55 % of the medical visitors have taken treatment from the medical centers here. And the other factors that have helped to show an inclined graph are the good hotels, tourism facilities and opportunities and of course the most professional and high-quality medical care awarded.

The below table helps you to find the apt statistics and the top states that has been siphoning in the international visitors for medical purposes:

Top 10 States/UTs in Number of Foreign Tourist Visits in 2010

Top 10 States
Foreign Visits (in lakh)
%
Maharastra
5.1
28.5
Tamil Nadu
2.8
15.7
Delhi
1.9
10.6
Uttar Pradesh
1.7
9.4
Rajasthan
1.3
7.2
West Begal
1.2
6.7
Kerala
0.7
3.7
Bihar
0.6
3.6
Himachal Pradesh
0.5
2.5
Goa
0.4
2.5
Total: Top 10 states
16.1
90.3
Others
1.7
9.7
Total
17.9
100
Source: Madras School of Economics

Government Help Needed To Help Medical Tourism Touch Its Peak In India

Medical tourism is being heralded as the next crown jewel and there is no doubt to the fact that India is giving a tough fight to meet the requirements and accreditation for hospitals, health standards like Food and Drug administration. It has rightly recognized the wants and is acutely aware of the perceptions of international visitors. It is also heartening to see that major corporations have invested heavily in medical sectors. The outcome of this is the huge multi-speciality hospitals and fertility centers which give a tough fight to even the five star hotels in comfort and luxury.

But, there are also certain areas where the government has to step-in and show its strength and help this sector touch its peak.

The most glaring field is that of the infrastructure as it will help in providing basic access to all the high-end hospitals and quality medical centres.

Medical visas should also be more streamlined and instead of the strict stipulations of M-Visa, the concept of visa-on-arrival should be implemented more.

The government should work out strategies to still raise the standards to meet the Western visitors and thereby help them choose India over its neck-to-neck competitors like Singapore and Malaysia.

Another area that it should really make supreme efforts is in marketing in western countries like UK and USA. The scope is immense since in these countries the health insurance is complex and the people will rush to any country that can give them an option of cheaper health care coupled with the best facilities and what is more different branches of medical care! This could prove to be a boon for both the countries and also the secondary players of tourism like the hotel sector and tourism sector can enjoy immense gain if medical tourism grows in a steady pace.

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    • profile image

      Dr Faseel 

      3 years ago

      This is an exemplary piece of article- having been involved in medical tourism myself for sometime the article clarifies many misconceptions for people.

    • profile image

      Haider 

      3 years ago

      Wonderful article on Medical tourism....

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