Country Profile: India

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When you think of India, what comes to mind? Taj Mahal? Delicious curries?
When we think of India, we think of medical tourism. If this comes as a surprise to you, read on for a sampling of the many reasons why India has become a prime destination for medical travel.

What Makes India a Great Location for Medical Tourism?

Here are some of the many reasons India has become a prime destination for medical tourists from around the world:

• With a growing economy – and a fast-growing medical travel industry – India has ample opportunity for medical travelers to take advantage of the latest technologies being implemented there. In fact, their medical tourism industry is anticipated to grow at up to 30% per year ! This means there are a lot of opportunities for foreign travelers to take advantage of everything India has to offer.

• Cost of medical care is extraordinarily affordable in India for many foreign medical travelers, often coming in at a fraction of the costs at home. ForbesIndia.com had a perfect example: “a heart bypass procedure costs roughly $140,000 without any insurance in the US. The same procedure, however, costs only around $7,000 or Rs 3 lakh at one of India’s leading surgery centres .”

• Their government has realized the need to ease travel restrictions for medical tourists and has taken steps to simplify the visa process (including a “visa-on-arrival” program), and also to reduce the barriers to re-entry for travelers from some countries . They even have a medical visa option for some travelers and their travel companions .

• As of this writing, India has 27 different JCI-accredited facilities across the country . (JCI is an independent organization that surveys and evaluates international hospitals and other medical organizations to assess whether they meet international standards.)

• There are minimal language barriers for anyone who speaks English.

• For anyone looking for complimentary medicine or alternative options – such as ayurveda, acupuncture, or yoga – those can easily be found alongside other medical treatment options in India.

• Healthcare professionals have a high level of training, especially as more and more western-trained Indian doctors are returning to India to establish a medical practice there . This often means that not only do the doctors have a high level of education and skill, they’re also accustomed to working with many different nationalities.

• Waiting lists are minimal to non-existent.

What Else Should Medical Tourists to India Consider?

While the reasons above are more than enough rationale to consider India a great destination for medical treatment, there are also additional considerations to keep in mind. For some, India may present more of a culture shock than some other destinations. Clearly this is something that can be managed, but it’s important to know what to expect before you go to avoid disappointment. Additionally, it’s good to remember that while the infrastructure is continually improving, it may not be what some are accustomed to at home, especially if you plan travel outside the main cities. Again, this is not a reason to discount the entire country, but simply something to be prepared for in advance.

 
Image courtesy of taesmileland at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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