18 January 2010

Medical tourism on the rise in India

Indian government starts issuing M (medical) visa to the medical patients, and MX visas to the accompanying spouse, which are valid for a year - Union Minister for Tourism With around one million tourists flocking to India for healthcare, a Rs 10,000 crore medical travel value expected by 2010, and a growth of 25% per year, medical tourism is booming like never before.
 

Union minister for tourism, Ambika Soni said the government is aggressively promoting India as a global healthcare destination to offer a holistic approach to health.She was speaking at the release of the Incredible India Brochure on Medical Tourism, organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Indian Healthcare Federation (IHF) here on Wednesday.

Seeing the huge potential in the sector, the government has also started issuing M (medical) visa to the medical patients, and MX visas to the spouse accompanying him, which are valid for a year.Two lakh medical tourists visited India last year, and the figure will grow by 50% this year.

India is being promoted as a healthcare destination in the ongoing 'Incredible India campaign,' being run by the tourism ministry. Soni said the campaign would promote Indian hospitals abroad as centers offering best medical services. In addition, availing medical services in India costs about a tenth of what it is in US, and one-sixth in UK.Not only this, the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals (NABH), a body set up to ensure safety and hygiene norms for hospitals, has already started the process of granting accreditation with 70 hospitals in the process of getting approval, chairman of CII's national committee on healthcare, Dr Naresh Trehan said.

Dr Trehan said India now offers the latest techniques such as robotic surgery, and gamma-knife treatment for brain tumors. The efficacy of treatment compares with that in the West, with the death rate from coronary bypasses at 0.8% compared to 2.35% in the US. Union health minister A Ramadoss stated the government is considering the Clinical Establishment Bill that would mandate accreditation for hospitals down to the district and village levels.

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