India to emerge as a hotspot for medical tourism

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India to emerge as a hotspot for medical tourism
02-Nov-22 05:26:31

India’s low cost of treatment, highly-skilled professionals and advancements in medical technology have made it the world’s most popular destination for medical tourism. In a study done in 2020-21 amongst 46 countries, India ranks 10th for being the most preferable destination for seeking better healthcare and holistic well-being services. However, in terms of number of international patients getting treatment, India is among the top 3 destinations in the world. 

In the past few decades, due to rapid globalization and the advancement of healthcare services in some parts of the world, the medical tourism industry has been further reinforced. The global medical tourism industry is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 21.1%. from the pre-covid scale of USD 80 billion in the year 2019

Medical tourism in India has gained remarkable momentum in the past decade. It all started as private hospitals forming special departments to aggressively cater to patients from foreign nations. This was supported by proliferating holistic health centres and wellness retreat hubs in India healing people based on principles of ancient sciences like Sidha, Ayurveda, Panchakarma, Kalari and Naturopathy. Significant private sector investment and government initiatives have now contributed to creating a $6 billion medical tourism industry in India, which is projected to reach $13 billion by the year 2026. Let’s take a look at how India is shaping the entire medical tourism ecosystem:

Adroit and responsive medical infrastructure of India

India has been home to the father of surgery, a physician — who practised in 800 BC in Varanasi. Keeping up with the same ethos, modern doctors and medical professionals are no less. Today, we have the most respected and sought-after medical centres known for their remarkable accomplishments. For instance, one of the hospital chains in Vijaywada, India holds a Guinness World Record of performing 1,020 cardiac surgeries all at a single gathering and all at the same time. Another urology and laparoscopy healthcare chain from India holds the Guinness World Record holder for treating the largest kidney stone of 13 centimetres These feats do not end and speak of the high degree of experience, expertise and professionalism in India’s healthcare professionals. Recently, a doctor in Ahmedabd treated a patient thousands of kilometers away using remote robotic surgery on broadband.

In addition, India’s ecosystem and receptiveness to urgent medical treatments have also been conducive. It was the Indian cities of Chennai and Gurugram, where the robust administration created a traffic-free green corridor for ambulances carrying live beating hearts due for transplantation. Another remarkable truth about India’s conduciveness towards medical needs surfaced when it emerged as the saviour for the world battling Covid, through medicines and vaccines. Alongside the country being a base for the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, India’s Covid vaccination drive itself was also hailed as the world’s largest.

Alongside modern medical technology and highly skilled medical personnel, the country provides less expensive treatment alternatives than the US and the UK without sacrificing the standards of healthcare. The support for the booming health sector was recently backed even further by the Government’s 2022-23 Union Budget, which allocates about Rs. 86,200 crores for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to prepping up the healthcare infrastructure even better.

Prevalent ancient healing sciences make it a wellness hub

India is known for its holistic treatments and not a singular medical course of action. When around 80% of the global population is estimated to use traditional medicine, the Indian Government is a step ahead. It already has a department that carries out research and recognises alternative healing systems — the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga, and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (or Ayush). India’s capabilities and vast depths of knowledge in natural and holistic treatment are well witnessed by the fact World Health Organisation (WHO) recently announced the establishment of the Global Centre for Traditional Medicines at Jamnagar in Gujarat, India.

India has also perfectly leveraged its ancient medical roots and now poses impressive options in alternative medicine. The southern state of Kerala has captured the attention of millions of tourists as a top destination for medical tourism in the world. Kerala boasts of class-leading and economic healthcare infrastructure and natural beauty and moderate climate are also added advantages. The Government’s upcoming ‘Heal In India’ campaign aims to position India as a global hub for medical and wellness tourism. Through this aspirational project, the government will ramp up medical infrastructure at 37 hospitals in 12 states. The Ministry of Health is also creating an online database of traditional healthcare professionals for a convenient search of patients from around the world.

Way ahead and ease of accessibility

Over the years, the government has made considerable efforts to enhance the tourism experience. Efforts have been made to simplify medical visa applications easing the terms of stay. Healthcare providers and organisations are certified by international accreditation schemes that enhance visibility and enable trust. For foreign tourists to easily access health care facilities in India’s oldest land of health and wellness, special medical visas are granted with lesser hassles. It is estimated that India gets about 2 million international patients every year.

With the life expectancy rate steadily rising from 66 years in 2010 to 70 years in 2020, India has been prospering as a land of holistic health and wellness, and facilities with ease of access are only becoming simpler by the day.