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17 Apr 2024, Edition - 3200, Wednesday

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The healthy growth of medical tourism

Jiji Ann Cherian


Kochi: India is flourishing in the field of medical tourism and holds a global sixth position in the sector with prediction of shooting up to number one in four years.

Kerala is a major contributor in the field and is always looking for innovative ways to scale up the market. If once it was Ayurveda that was luring international tourists, now it can be anything from dental treatments to even an open heart surgery.

“Kerala is ideally suited for medical tourism because of its moderate climate, world-class facilities and the doctors specialised in major disciplines,” says Dr Rajkrishnan, who runs a dental clinic in Kochi, frequented by foreigners, especially from Europe.

Clearly, there are economic advantages for choosing English-speaking India for certain procedures. For example, without insurance a heart bypass procedure costs roughly $1,40,000 in the US. “The same procedure, however, costs only around $7,000 or Rs 3 lakh at one of India’s leading surgery centres. Procedures, such as hip and knee replacement, or face lifts, are far more affordable here,” informs Dr P.G Paul, who runs Paul’s Hospital in Kochi.

Additionally, tapping on this resource, a group of youngsters have started a portal called Green Bowl based in Oman which is set to give Kerala tourism a boost. As a first step, they collect a patient’s medical report and sen it to three hospitals. They collect information from the hospitals regarding the treatment and the duration of stay required, which give patients a choice of hospitals.

Once they fly down, they are provided the assistance of a person who is fluent in their language, among other facilities, such as sightseeing tours for patient bystanders.

“Presently 60 information centres in Oman assist with Kerala medical tourism,” says Jabson Verghese, one of the founders of Green Bowl.

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