India 'can be a major health tourism hub'
Manama, October 17, 2013
India can be a major health tourism destination for Bahraini and GCC nationals and residents, according to leading medical industry professionals.
Those seeking treatment abroad due to the lack of inexpensive specialist services here can now look to India for excellent medical care.
According to Indian Medical Association (IMA) Bahrain Chapter president Dr Babu Ramachandran, the shift in destination from countries like the UK, Germany and the US to India is mainly being driven by cost considerations and comparable quality of service.
Speaking to the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication, Dr Ramachandran said India had a highly skilled workforce, world-class locally manufactured drugs, implants, consumables and medical equipment as well as accredited hospitals with world-class infrastructure and research facilities.
"It is an opportunity we would like to highlight during the Bahrain-India Conference and Exhibition next week," Dr Ramachandran said.
Some the biggest private healthcare providers in India will be represented by the IMA at the first-ever such event, themed 'Bahrain-India Economic Partnership: Springboard to Access Wider Markets'.
"Delegates from India will explore potential opportunities in the region, which would mainly target medical tourism," he said.
"We know that many Indian providers are endeavouring to open healthcare facilities in the region to obviate need to travel to India."
The premier India-focused, trade and industry event is being held from October 22 to 24, at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre.
As part of the conference, a seminar titled 'Bilateral opportunities in the healthcare sector" will also be held under the patronage of Health Minister Sadiq Al Shehabi.
Echoing the view expressed by Dr Ramachandran, Reinsurance Group of America regional director for health Dr Dennis Sebastian, who will also participate in the exhibition, said Bahrain had limited tertiary care facilities, most of which were in the public sector with expatriates restricted in accessing them.
"India has a number of centres of excellence providing high-quality tertiary and secondary care facilities, specially in treatment of cancer, heart diseases and for cosmetic and orthopaedic purposes.
"Considering that this area is progressing towards compulsory medical insurance, there are various collaborations and ventures that can be explored," he said.
According to a McKinsey & Company report, the GCC countries will face an unparalleled and unprecedented rise in demand for healthcare over the course of the next decade.
The company estimates that total healthcare spending in the region will reach $60 billion in 2025, it added.-TradeArabia News Service