Hyderabad: Hyderabad is fast emerging as a major Indian city with top-class ecosystem to support medical tourism. From a trickle to a steady stream of international patients, the city in last few years broke into the top five Indian cities that attract largest number of international patients for treatment.
Back in 2009-10, the estimated revenue generated through medical tourism in Hyderabad was Rs 3 crore, which has expanded to nearly Rs 15 crore today and is projected to touch Rs 50 crore mark in next few years.
On an average, every month, nearly 1,000 patients from Middle East, Africa and SAARC countries, get themselves admitted in the corporate hospitals of Hyderabad for treatment which is a far cry from a few years ago when the number of these patients was few and far between.With massive investments made by private hospitals to constantly update medical technology and talent apart from improvement in flight connectivity and world class medical facilities but at a cheaper cost and sharp marketing played a big role in catapulting Hyderabad into a major hub for medical tourism.
A majority of the patients from countries in Africa including Tanzania, Somalia and Nigeria, Middle East and South East Asia come here 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, gastroenterology procedures, cochlear implant surgeries and even preventive health checks.
However, compared to other metros in terms of number of international patients arriving as part of medical tourism, Hyderabad has a long way to go.
“Mumbai and to some extent Pune receive close to 2 lakh medical tourists every year and this number is expected to 5 lakh in next two years. Chennai attracts 40 per cent of medical tourists in India with a minimum of 200 international patients getting admitted per day,” says General Manager, CARE Hospital, Mahender Pala.
India among top 5 destinations for medical tourism
Hyderabad: The rise of India to top five countries for providing best in medical tourism options has been a gradual one. At present, apart from India, the other four top destinations for medical tourism include United States, Germany, Israel and Singapore.
Till a decade ago, affluent families from Africa, Middle East and SAARC countries used to travel primarily to the US, Germany and UK for treatment. Such families, however, realised that a majority of the doctors in UK and US with whom they were interacting with were of Indian origin.
At around the same time, due to rapid economic development in India, private hospitals like Apollo, Medanta, Max and others started investing heavily in development of world class medical machinery and human resources.
Patients realised the potential in Indian hospitals and India joined the elite group of countries like US, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand as medical tourism destinations.
However, India scored over others when it came to providing world class treatment and facilities at a very competitive cost. “In the last five to eight years, thanks to a lot of word to mouth publicity, India has become a top destination and is among top five countries that includes US, Singapore, Germany and Israel for medical tourism,” says Gokul Prem Kumar, Head, International Business, Continental Hospitals.
Student community fuelling demand
The sizeable international student community in Hyderabad played a big role in fuelling the growth of medical tourism in the State Capital. Corporate hospitals in Hyderabad have gained from the feedback that foreign students often share with their countrymen back home.
Experts acknowledge that international patients tend to contact students from their own countries in Indian cities for suggestions. By default, students in Hyderabad have become decision makers in selecting hospitals.
In fact, there are quite a few corporate hospitals in Hyderabad who also provide a healthy commission to international students for referring their facility to international patients.