Just as the term explains itself, Medical tourism, even called ‘healthcare tourism’, is about travelling international to acquire healthcare. Conversely, it also means medical help providers travel abroad to reach out to the masses proposing to deliver their best medical service. However, the implementation of the second definition usually tends to attract more controversies than commendation but nevertheless; medical tourism has drastically shown up as a lucrative national industry.
Heart-valve replacements, joint replacements, dental surgeries or cosmetic; all such sensitive operation costs are thousands of dollars cheaper in India than the US or Europe (holiday packages inclusive). Even surrogacy in India proves to be affordable for expatriates. The laws seem favorable and so does the infrastructure which has been made top class now. Of course, Indian surgeons and doctors have carved a very competent, reliable and responsible image of theirs making the present scenario remarkable. Their contribution to medicine has leveled world standards and today, they are noticed working at government or private hospitals in nearly every major country.
The international and domestic aviation industries get a double cherry on their cake free of any special offers to be mandatorily made by them to their foreign customers. Most importantly, the foreign exchange brought by this sector alone is highly contributive and promising to the growth of Indian economy.
Apart from the basic revenue facts, healthcare tourism establishes India on the tourism map of the globe boosting its hotel business and increasing awareness about the alternate medication techniques too. It’s Ayurveda, and for which, India by now, is exclusively turned to. People in counting of billions across countries have begun to rely their way of living and healing on either naturopathy or Ayurveda. Ranging from Kerala’s therapeutic massages, healing aromatic spas, herbal medicines prepared by native residents of Himalayas to consumer health products made from fruits, vegetables, earth, flowers, honey and hundreds other natural by-products; the ancient “inspired by nature” living have forever won India immense foreign recognition and amusement but lately, even adopted permanently by some.
Running into ethical issues like illegal organ and tissue transplants or facing risks of having immigrant patients infected with local diseases, Medical tourism does have to handle a big deal of raised eyebrows slapping allegations that threaten the integrity and moral sense of the country to have been sold for some million dollars. In any case, the industry earns profit and more profit and negligible losses. The local cloth, grocery, medicine vendors and auto rickshaw drivers have learnt more English. Villagers have reluctantly accepted that women do wear pants and sometimes clothing that’s much shorter. Our temples, dance, language, food and village life seem more beautiful than ever. The elite class of Indian people is 50% more self-conscious now, replacing their aspirin doses with pranayam sessions. Medical tourism is definitely changing things here for the better.
Moreover, which expatriate would say no to a speedy and not-exactly-expensive cheek-bone lift done by the best dermatologist in town topped with a very friendly hospital treatment? Also, winning a trip to Taj Mahal in the bargain? I wouldn’t.
[Image courtesy: http://www.amputee-coalition.org/inmotion/sep_oct_07/medical_tourism01.jpg]