Dr. Avnish Jolly,28 May:Due to higher and very expensive medical costs in the western countries, patients from economies of scale including Africa, Gulf and various Asian countries have started exploring medical treatment in hospitals located in various places in India. The prospects of medical tourism in India will also get a boost with the increase in health GDP ratio, which would amount to proliferation of new health facilities as well as their centres for patients to accommodate overseas patients as with increasing health facilities.
Releasing the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) estimates, its President Venugopal N Dhoot pointed out that, currently, the earnings accrued through medical tourism annually are estimated at Rs 3,500 crore. Easy access to visa facilities permitted by India to overseas patients coupled with the best emerging medical infrastructure in large and tertiary towns will fatten the country’s forex earning to an estimated Rs 8,000 crore by 2012, a new study has said.
“The primary reasons as to why medical tourism would flourish in India include much more lower medical costs for various ailments such as bone narrow transparent, bye-pass surgery, knee surgery and liver transplant as compared to western countries,” Dhoot said.
Dhoot said that this is due to the country’s gearing up of its medical infrastructure to provide them non-subsidised medical treatment at much more lower costs which are many times considered reasonable.The other reasons for excellent medical treatment are India’s strength of highly qualified medical professionals and even equally higher qualities of availability of nurses.
Dhoot said that cost advantage is one of the reasons which works in favour of India, resulting movement of patients from various developing and developed countries. The shift in the flow is due to its hospital infrastructure, which is not only confined to large metros but equally getting better in tertiary towns.
“Still other reasons for medical tourism getting widespread in India is because of its strength of traditional treatment in homeopathy, naturopathy, ayurvedic and unani, which are becoming popular because of their non-side effects,” the Assocham Chief said.
A comparison of treatment costs between India and other countries such as the US, the UK and Thailand:
Comparison of Treatment in Dollars around:
Medical Treatment USA UK Thiland India
Bone marrow transplant 2,00,000 2,00,000 62,500 20,000
Knee Surgery 17,000 15,000 7,000 1,000
Bye – Pass Surgery 20,000 20,000 14,500 6,000
Liver Transplant 3,00,000 2,50,000 7,50,000 4,000