Written by CHARLES MKULA
LILONGWE--India has become Malawi’s recent medical tourism destination, attracting patients in search of simple as well as complex specialized medical treatment, says Med Access India Marketing Director Shashi Wankhede.
Medical tourism, also known as medical travel or health tourism, is a growing industry that involves moving patients for medical care which isn’t offered in their own countries.
Wankhede says services sought by travelers include surgeries, cancer, psychiatry, genetic disorders or reproductive services.
“India has an impeccable record in healthcare, world-class doctors all across the specialties who can handle simple to very complex cases with ease,” says Wankhede. “One can feel the excellence when they are on the job.”
She attributes this to the rigorous training medical students go through at highly competitive schools and excellent hospitals.
For decades, Malawian patients travelled to South Africa or Britain for advanced medical treatment but in recent years India has become a major player. India is said to high quality treatment at a low cost, short waiting time for procedures and improvements in both technology and overall standards of care.
Malawi uses a socialized system of health care, with the goal of providing access and basic health services to all Malawians. This is an overwhelming task, considering that 80% of Malawians live in rural areas.
A large patient base, limited staffing and limited availability of medicine means that a visit to the health centre can take all day. Compounding this is the limited treatment that is available in Malawi — everything from diagnostic procedures to treatment regimens is not available to most people.
Wankhede says the world wide search for quality health care services and the overall outlook of global health care has attracted a lot of investments, medical staff and increased medical tourism to India.
She says Med Access India is a company that best handles patient needs, linking them with hospitals best equipped to help them.
The Indian healthcare industry, poised to gross $252 billion in revenue by 2020, is undergoing a rapid expansion phase with 12 percent Cumulative Growth per Annum (CGPA) since 2008, according to Wankhede.
“Private hospitals are training and modernizing equipments to reach out and serve their patients better with best methods and practices,” she says, addin that government initiatives and public-private partnerships will also help create better opportunities for nurses, paramedics, emergency medical technicians and specialized doctors across the country.
According to the Investment Commission of India, the market size of hospitals and nursing homes will be US$ 11 billion with 20 percent growth rate per annum while medical equipment will register a 15 per cent growth to $ 3 billion, clinical lab diagnostics will grow to US$ 1 billion, a 30 percent growth and imaging diagnostics will hit US$ 2 billion, 30 percent growth.
“The Indian Healthcare sector is set to emerge as one of the most progressive and largest service sectors in the country,” she says, observing that “Importing customers into India for medical tourism, educational services and leisure tourism is expected to generate an additional $50 billion in revenue and create 48 million direct jobs by 2020.
(c) The Maravi Post 2012. Reproduction without acknowledgement prohibited.