India Medical Tourism Destination Kuwait 2011 on Nov 2-3 Traveling abroad for serious medical treatments is an arduous task that demands well-thought out planning. For those who can afford it, the cost of a procedure such as heart or liver transplant and hip replacement is not the top priority as much as a guaranteed successful outcome.
In the wealthy Gulf countries, especially, reputable doctors are sought out for these super-specialties as quality health care infrastructure is not readily available to date. Thousands of Arab patients flock to medical destinations such as the US, UK, and Germany as they are known for best-quality professionals and top-notch medical technologies.
The term ‘Medical Tourism’ has been coined for such travel intentions, even though sight-seeing and leisure do not factor when facing surgeries with potentially high-risk consequences. It is the fastest rising segment of tourism in developed countries. In Kuwait, the government funds citizens with chronic illnesses and sends them for treatment abroad.
Unsurprisingly, although not yet fully well known, India is among the rising destinations for medical tourism, fast becoming the most popular and respected. India’s doctors comprise the best in the world. According to the Organization for European Economic Co-operation (OECD), India is the top country of origin of migrant doctors in OECD countries, which include the UK, the US, Canada, and Australia, with over 56,000 Indian doctors.
To showcase India’s state of the art facilities and capabilities, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), along with Trident Exhibitions, is organizing a two-day exhibition and conference entitled IMTD (India Medical Tourism Destination) Kuwait 2011 on Nov 2-3.
The exhibition aims to feature India’s global healthcare and facilitate networking opportunities for industry professionals (including hotels and travel operators). Around 40 hospitals from India will be on exhibition along with government departments and natural health centers.
A press delegation was sent to New Delhi and Mumbai by the Indian Embassy of Kuwait to tour a number of hospitals. The delegation visited Apollo Hospital, Artemis, Medanta, Fortis, Primus Super Specialty Hospital, Hinduja Hospital, Dr L. H Hiranandani Hospital, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani as well as SevenHills Hospital.
International patients make an average of 30-35 percent of the total in and out patients and, in Kuwait, patients could contact the Indian Embassy for information on the hospitals that can best cater to their needs.
In India, the hospitals visited boasted their abilities to cater to international patients by providing international centers with reduced costs and the latest medical technologies.
The hospitals provide interpreters and translators, free ambulance rides and airport pickups, assistance in acquiring visas to India as well as Halal food catering (important for Arab Muslim patients).
Suites, single rooms and twin rooms match any accommodation found at five-star hotels and there are sections for accompanying relatives. Furthermore, all hospitals have been accredited by India’s National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH).
According to the Indian medical tourism industry, 600,000 patients have traveled to India in 2010 for medical treatment from over 30 countries including the US, UK, Africa and the Middle East.
That is unsurprising as patients can receive treatments such as open-heart surgery with almost zero waiting period, while the waiting period for specialized medical procedures in the US and UK is approximately 9-11 month.
Predictably, the medical tourism industry in India is given the boost by its thriving economy. India’s GDP average growth in 2010-11 is 8.5 percent.
This is after recovering from the 2008 global financial crises, as per recent statistics by FICCI on the Indian economy. The average industrial growth from 2003- 04 to 2007-08 is 8.7 percent.
Furthermore, India’s exports in 2010-11 amount to $245.9 billion, while imports are worth $350.7 billion.
In the last five years India has received foreign investment to the tune of $160 billion. Meanwhile, the percentage of population below the poverty line has decreased from 45.3 percent in 1993-94 to 32.2 percent in 2009-10, estimates FICCI.