Medical Tourism in South India

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MEDICAL TOURISM IN SOUTH INDIA – A SWOT PERSPECTIVE OF INDIAN MEDICINE SYSTEM

J.Swaminathan
AVCCE

Health is wealth!
(Ayurveda To Yoga)

ABSTRACT

The Indian Systems of Medicine include Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy is ancient and has the roots in traditional system of medical treatments in tune with the Mother Nature. Medical Tourism is the emerging industry next to the IT boom and India is the second best destination as of now. Especially the Indian Systems of Medicine, in South India can become the leader in medical Tourism Industry. This paper tries to appraise the facts and future possibilities based on a SWOT perspective.

Introduction
Without sound health we cannot achieve anything in our life, nor enjoy what ever we have. In service sector the concept of Medical Tourism is catching up at lightning speed across the world. The act of traveling to other countries for medical, surgical and other forms of healthcare along with recreation is called Medical Tourism. People from advanced countries, including the United States and Europe, see a benefit in traveling to developing third world countries, like India, Thailand, Philippines, South Africa, and etc.while combining medical treatments with inexpensive vacation. According to a study conducted by the Confederation of Indian Industry and Mc Kinsey consultants (2004), 1,50,000 foreigners visited India for treatment, with the number rising by 15 percent a year.The number has increased to 2, 72,000 in 2007 and has crossed the 3 lakhs mark in 2008. ASSOCHAM has predicted that this will grow by 22 to 25% in the coming years. Scope

The main demand for medical tourism is generated from millions of Indians who live abroad, though a growing number of foreigners are also keen on speedy and in expensive treatment. They are influenced by two important facts: India now has many world-class private hospitals and the alternative medicines are available in abundance. Foreigners are visiting India for serious medical help as well as rejuvenation therapies and other specific purposes. Medical Tourism has been a popular concept in countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Costa Rica, Hungary, India, Israel, Jordan, and Lithuania. South Africa specializes in medical Safaris-visit the country for a safari, with a stock over for plastic surgery. Due to liberalization of our economy and internalization of health care profession, India has entered the industry in only recent times. India’s corporate hospitals are fully equipped with up market and efficiency. The Indian Systems of Medicine also has become a valid reason for them especially in preventive cure and alternative medicines. Medical Tourism is poised to be the next Indian success story after Information Technology. According to recent study of ASSOCHAM, in 2008 the size of industry was estimated Rs 1500 crore and it would grow into Rs.9500 crores by 2015 with an annual growth rate of 30 %. The Indian government has predicted that India’s $ 17 billion –a-year health care industry would grow by 13% in next four years. Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM)

The Indian Systems of Medicine include Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy together characterized under the department of AYUSH in the union health and family welfare ministry. During the ninth plan, with an expenditure of more than Rs.1,000 crore, a quantum jump in outlays on schemes for development and promotion of AYUSH system of medicine has been achieved during Tenth and Eleventh Plan. Indians are known for their hospitality and warmth. India has an incomparably rich heritage in ancient systems of medicine that make up a veritable treasure house of knowledge for both preventive and curative health care. Around 1000 BC when Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM) were fully documented in Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita. Thus, ISM is considered to be one of the oldest organized...
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