Hyderabad: Competitive pricing, air connectivity and quality healthcare are turning Hyderabad into a major hub for medical tourism in the country. On an average, every month about 1,000 foreign nationals visit the city on medical tourism.
People from African countries such as Tanzania, Somalia, Nigeria, Middle East, CIS and South East Asia come to Hyderabad for complex heart surgeries, joint replacements, brain and spine surgery using robots, bone marrow transplants, cancer treatment, bariatric surgery, dental procedures, heart and lung transplant, gynecology surgeries, colorectal surgeries, gastroenterology procedures, IVF, cochlear implant surgery and preventive health checks.
When it comes to treatments such as leukemia the difference in cost is 10 to 20 times and for other treatments it could be anywhere between a fifth to 10th compared to western countries. Radhey Mohan P Vice President, international business development, Apollo Health City, Hyderabad says, foreign patients come to Hyderabad not only to avail cheap healthcare but for world class treatment at an affordable cost.”
In 2015, about 200 foreign patients were treated in Care Hospital mostly with ailments relating to orthopedics, cardiology, pulmonary problems and pediatrics. Osman a relative of a patient from Erbil, a town in Iraq says, “We came to know about Hyderabad from a friend who was in Hyderabad last year.
We are happy that the facilities and the treatment are good. Also we like the city, it is similar to Erbil in many ways.”
According to the Ministry of Tourism, foreign tourist arrivals on medical visa increased by 140% from 2013 to 2015 and during this period more than 2.66 lakh tourists visited India. In Hyderabad also the number of medical tourists is growing between 20 to 30 per cent annually.
Mahender Pala, general manager, International marketing, Care Hospital says, “The Pan-African-e-network project too has played a part in Hyderabad becoming a popular medical tourism destination. Many cardiologists and paramedical staff of African countries have been trained under the network and the awareness about the facilities in Hyderabad is well known in these countries now.”
Also a sizable number of students from African countries reside in Hyderabad and they also spread a good word about the facilities. According to rough estimates about 11,000 foreign students are studying various courses in the city.
Such is the demand that several corporate hospitals have provided full-time translators for patients from French speaking countries, Indonesia, Malaysia and Middle Eastern countries. Experts in the tourism industry predict that Hyderabad may well surpass the 20-30 per cent annual growth in medical tourism as the air connectivity and facilities are good. The cost of getting treatment in Hyderabad is much cheaper to Thailand which is a close competitor.