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Medical Tourism in India

Posted Jun 02 2009 4:40pm

Medical tourism is where residents of one country in order to reduce the costs of their medical treatment at home, goes for a cheaper alternative treatments abroad (and take a free holiday with the savings) and one of such countries offering these alternative is India.

Medical surgeries in India have seen a phenomenal growth during recent past. Most of the patients from countries like United States, United Kingdom, and Australia etc. travel to developing countries such as India for their treatment. While Indian medical tourism was came into picture with increase in cosmetic surgery patients since then there has been foreign patients for Heart and Joint replacement surgery too and one of the recent growth in foreign medical patients is seen in the area of Obesity treatment and weight loss surgery, Liver Transplant and Gastro-Intestinal Surgery in India but the main question arises while choosing India as treatment option is Why India?

Here are few main reasons while choosing India at first choice for expensive medical treatments specially surgeries.

1. India offers wide range of cheapest pricing options of treatment.

2. While planning a treatment in India, one does not require to wait in patient queues or register for a waiting list.

3. Moreover the doctors and the medical facilities are comparable to anyone in the world.

4. Another main reason for choosing India is comfort of Language; one does not pose a problem as most people speak English.

5. Above all India always offers a good holiday, which can help in fast recoveries.

6. India combines world-class healthcare with prices costing a fraction of those in the US or Europe.

7. The Indian education system at present is training an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 doctors and nurses each year to meet the demand for increased
medical services.

India has been an exporter of medical doctors for some time. And now, as the article shows, it has excess capacity in health care facilities, skilled manpower and sophisticated technology, and the country has put this all on offer to high paying clients worldwide who wish to go there for medical treatment.

But there is an urban-rural disparity in the distribution of medical care facilities in India. Nearly 80 percent of its population lives in the villages, while 80 percent of its medical manpower and health-care facilities are in the cities.

Most rural areas in India have poor populations and carry a heavy burden of all the diseases and treatable conditions that are largely preventable through an assertive public health action.

There is nothing wrong with promoting medical tourism if it is done as an initiative of the private sector in a market economy. But when the national government promotes the initiative, it raises serious questions of morality, social justice and equitable distribution of resources in a country where a large proportion of the population is poor and without access to proper medical care.

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