Dubai: The potential for partnerships between Gulf countries, including the UAE, and India in medical tourism was highlighted during the ‘Heal in India’ campaign by India’s Ministry of Tourism at Expo 2020 Dubai on Monday.
A virtual panel discussion about the campaign heard from UAE-based Dr Azad Moopen, chairman and founder of Aster DM Healthcare, who pointed to the potential for partnerships in medical tourism, provided the government of India places strict emphasis on confidence building and quality control measures in healthcare.
He said issues such as hygiene standards and building confidence in the expertise of healthcare professionals would go a long way in promoting the Heal in India campaign.
The campaign was launched by Rakesh Kumar Verma, Additional Secretary of India’s Ministry of Tourism, on Monday at India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. In his opening presentation, Verma said India has established the Indian Medical Tourism and Wellness Board and was looking forward to collaborations to invite tourists for medical and wellness tourism to India.
“India has a unique integrated system of allopathic, Ayurveda, and yoga medical system and people from around the world come to India for rejuvenation. Our medical tourism is patient-centric and we need to adopt an integrated communication strategy to promote Heal in India as a sub-brand of the Indian Ministry of Tourism’s ‘Incredible India’ campaign,” Verma added.
Reiterating a need for a comprehensive medical tourism strategy, Dr Moopen said India’s wealth of different health disciplines could be tapped into by many countries besides those from the GCC. What works in India’s favour, he added, is the large body of highly-trained medical professionals, cost effective treatment plans and the ability to integrate alternative therapies with allopathic treatment.
However, Dr Moopen said, what is crucial is quality control that the Indian government needs to emphasise on. He also pointed out the huge potential for expansion in digital heath care where doctors could carry out telemedicine consultation, tele radiology and robotic surgeries in case of patients who were miles away. He added that the medical tourism capabilities should to be demonstrated in roadshows across several geographies to tap into wellness treatment options of potential patients.
Professor Randeep Guleria, director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), said India was standing on the cusp of a health-care revolution. During the COVID-19 pandemic India demonstrated a capacity to innovate, increase healthcare capacity, become self-sufficient in ventilators, medicines and bed capacity.
Global best practices
Dr Sangita Reddy, joint director of Apollo Hospital Group, said India was the centre of medical travel in the world and during the pandemic had made a significant contribution to health tourism. Talking about the need to brand building, Dr Reddy said: “India has already adopted global best practices such as support system for the patient, effective communication system between hospital and patient, arrangement for pick up and drop off, access to patient’s relatives, good food, etc.”
Other speakers, such as Sandeep Nanduri, Director of Tamil Nadu Tourism; Abhilash Ramesh, director of Kairali Ayurveda, Kerala; Dr Ramnathan, MD of Sitaram Ayurveda; Krishna Teja, Deputy Director of Kerala Tourism; highlighted how Ayurveda was integral and mainstream in the Indian state of Kerala and played an important role in providing integrated healthcare and wellness solutions. Already a large section of medical tourists were availing such holistic treatment therapies in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in India.
Sajeev Kurup, managing director of Ayurvedamana Hospital, India was the chief moderator of the panel discussion.