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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What is Medical Tourism?
Medical tourism or health tourism is travels undertaken by people to another country for obtaining medical treatment. By and large, people travel from less developed countries to major medical centers in highly developed countries for medical treatment that was unavailable in their own communities. The recent trend is for people to travel from developed countries to third world countries because of cost consideration.

Medical tourists are subject to a variety of risks, which may include deep vein thrombosis, tuberculosis, amoebic dysentery, paratyphoid, poor post-operative care and other reasons. Medical tourism is a growing sector in India. It is expected to witness an annual growth rate of 30%, making it a $2 billion industry by the year-end. 

The advantages include reduced costs, availability of latest medical technologies, a growing compliance on international quality standards, as well as the fact that foreigners are less likely to face a language barrier in India. The government has removed visa restrictions on tourist visas that required a two-month gap between consecutive visits for people from Gulf countries which is likely to boost medical tourism.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) reported that 150,000 medical tourists came to India in 2005 while ASSOCHAM projected that by the end of this year the number could swell to a staggering 3,200,000. The treatment costs in India start at around a tenth of the price of comparable treatment in America or Britain. The most popular treatments sought are alternative medicine, bone-marrow transplant, cardiac bypass, eye surgery and hip replacement. India is known in particular for heart surgery, hip resurfacing and other areas of advanced medicine.

Lower treatment cost does not necessarily mean lower healthcare standards. There are 21 JCI accredited hospitals in India and the number is growing.  Chennai has been called as India's health capital. Multi- and super-specialty hospitals across the city bring in an estimated 150 international patients every day. It attracts about 45 per cent of health tourists from abroad arriving in the country and 30 to 40 per cent of domestic health tourists.

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