Affordable Healthcare Not Only for Foreigners

Affordable Healthcare at Home: Taking Care of Our Own

As health and wellness tourism in India gains momentum, the health minister warned hospitals to make certain that Indian patients don’t suffer in the bargain. It would be a cruel joke if foreigners came to India for affordable healthcare, and Indians had to go abroad for their own (more expensive) treatments.

Health and Wellness Tourism in India

The Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Centre (CBCC), built at a cost of about $650,000, was inaugurated recently at Apollo Hospital in Ahmedabad. The Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals, Preetha Reddy, supported the growth of health and wellness tourism in India, as did Gujarat’s Health Minister, Ashok Bhatt, who said the state government would announce a medical tourism policy soon. However, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Anbumani Ramadoss, called for caution, saying, “Needy Indian patients should not suffer because of medical tourism.” He also reminded Reddy of her “corporate social responsibility,” after she spoke about attracting foreign patients to their new facility to bring credibility to Indian medical facilities, and improve prospects for health and wellness tourism in India. The Minister also urged the hospital to set up research centers for fields like stem cells and nanoparticle technology.

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Medical Packages in India

The Apollo Hospitals are said to be planning a partnership with a chain of five-star hotels to provide medical packages to India, where accommodations and affordable healthcare are combined. Thousands of patients from Europe and America are arriving in India to take advantage of such medical packages, as India is one of the top medical tourism destinations today. While stressing national rural health programs, Minister Ramadoss also praised Gujarat’s progress in setting up integrated medical systems. “The integration of the Indian system of medicine with the modern medical system is happening in Gujarat, and the Center wants to replicate it in other parts of the country,” he said.

Source: “Ramadoss Warns on Medical Tourism,” Business Standard, November 7

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