Rakesh Kumar Verma, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, said that India offers best of both modern and traditional systems of medicines and can provide holistic healing to people from across the world.
"Our country is one of the prominent destinations for medical tourism owing to the availability of quality healthcare treatment facilities at considerably low cost. The Indian systems of medicines such as Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, etc. are among the most ancient systems of medical treatment, of the world,” he said while speaking at the session, ‘Heal in India – Rejuvenate the Body, Mind and the Soul’ yesterday during the Tourism Week at the India Pavilion, EXPO2020 Dubai.
"The number of international patients increased from 4.3 lakhs in 2016 to 7 lakhs in 2019, with an estimated market size in the range of USD 6 billion in 2019. Some estimates suggest USD 9 billion in 2020 before pandemic hit,” he added.
Talking about the potential of medical tourism in India, he said, “India has become a favourite destination for yoga and wellness with its focus on traditional therapies through AYUSH – the government of India recognizes medical value travel and wellness tourism as important sectors having the potential of accelerating the country's development and attaining the objective of Aatmanirbhar Bharat”.
"The Ministry of Tourism constituted National Medical and Wellness Tourism Board to provide dedicated institutional framework for the promotion of medical and wellness tourism, including Indian system of medicine. We are developing the ‘Heal in India’ brand to market India as a medical and wellness tourism destination. Under the campaign, an integrated communication strategy to promote brand India will be prepared and executed in partnership with the industry,” he added.
Through a virtual address, Dr Atul Mohan Kochhar, CEO, National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers, said, “We started with one program in 2006, now we are running 21 programs under the accreditation, certification and empanelment arms. We have also partnered with more than 12,000 hospitals and are actively collaborating with NHA (National Health authority) and Ayushman Bharat Yojana to create a strong system for transparent medical care.”
Addressing the session virtually, Prof Randeep Guleria, Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), said, “India has the advantage of providing holistic care using alternate medicine, Ayurveda and other methods including yoga and allopathy. Therefore, we need to look at preventive health packages and treatment health packages specially for patients who have non-communicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes, artery disease, or chronic respective diseases.”
Dr Sangita Reddy, Past President FICCI and Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals, said during her virtual address, “Indian healthcare system has high-quality hospitals. The nurses, doctors and other health care professionals are at par with the best in the world. India also has 39 Joint Commission international accredited multi-specialty hospitals with some of the latest technologies, infrastructure, and patients are discerning that the internet is a great medium of communication”
"We are also committed to training and development of other ecosystems. Multiple doctors and nurses from various countries in Africa have visited India and have been part of the training program. We are committed to develop global partnerships in treatment, training, learning and research,” she added.
The session was also attended by experts in the healthcare industry including Sandeep Nanduri, Director, Tourism Department, Government of Tamil Nadu: Krishna Teja, Director, Tourism Department, Government of Kerala: Dr Azad Moopen, Chairman and Managing Director, Aster DM Healthcare; Dr D Ramanathan, Managing Director & Chief Physician, Sitaram Ayurveda and Abhilash Ramesh, Executive Director, Kairali Ayurvedic.