Medical tourism in India is a rapidly growing enterprise attracting vast numbers of domestic and international tourists. The expertise of people in the medical profession in India is on par with those in the developed nations, many of them even having been trained in the US or the UK. The infrastructure of several hospitals and medical centres also meet international standards. However, when it comes to the cost of treatments and facilities, India is much cheaper than the European countries, gulf countries and the US. Availability of high quality treatments for lower costs, often as low as one tenth of the cost in their home countries, is certainly the primary reason for the high flow of medical tourists into India.
Although India is a quite diverse nation with hundreds of local languages, English is an official language in India. English is the second most popularly spoken language in India. The professionals in the medical field are especially proficient in the language and this makes it easier for the tourists to communicate with them. Even while dealing with shopkeepers, rickshaw drivers and other locals, people from other countries and states can use English as a common language. This makes the stay in India much easier compared to other foreign nations where English is not widely taught and spoken. Several hospitals have also appointed translators and front-desk staff who are fluent in foreign languages such as Dhivehi, Albanian, Croatian, Serbian and French, and also Indian regional languages such as Assamese, Bengali and Odia.
Indian government allows a 30-days visa-on-arrival for foreign nationals from select countries seeking treatments in India. It has also removed certain visa restrictions imposed on tourists from gulf countries. Understanding the opportunities in the field of medical tourism, many agencies and travel companies have extended their services to aiding medical tourists in securing visa, and managing other travel related necessities such as flight bookings and accommodation. This has further reduced the stress on the tourists coming to India for improving their health.
While many of the western countries focus only on what is called ‘modern medicine’, India chooses to put her skills and knowledge into developing other medical branches such as homeopathy, Ayurveda and siddha also. This offers not only more options to the tourists, it also makes it possible to attain cure for illnesses that cannot be treated using ‘modern medicine’. For instance, ITP patients can only get emergency aid in modern medicine which normally involves steroid medication. There is no treatment available to improve the condition of the patients or the quality of their lives. However, many homeopathic doctors have successfully treated the condition in several patients. Ayurveda and Siddha can be very effective alternatives for patients who do not wish to go through procedures such as surgeries.
As technology advances in the Indian medical field and more and more medical professionals receive world-class education and training, we can expect the field of medical tourism to continue to grow in the foreseeable future. Medical tourism not only contributes to the national income, it is also a reason for Indians to be proud of, as our country is playing a significant role in helping invalids all over the world.