Muscat: India’s fast-growing presence as a global leader in medical tourism is a great opportunity for those in Oman seeking medical treatment to visit the country.
World-class medical facilities, coupled with skilled doctors available at affordable rates mean India is a destination for medical tourism that would suit many people in the Sultanate, said Rakesh Adlakha, Charge D’Affaires of the Indian Embassy in Oman.
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“The people of Oman are familiar with the quality and competitive costs of medical services available in India,” he said. “India is already a preferred destination for medical tourism for the people of Oman. There is good connectivity between Oman and India with hundreds of flights every week connecting Muscat and Salalah to 11 destinations in India.”
“The high-end healthcare system in India is as good as the best in the world,” added Adlakha.
“India maintains not only a robust accreditation system but also a large number of accredited facilities. India has a number of JCI (Joint Commission International) accredited hospitals and compares well with other countries in Asia. The approved hospitals in India can provide care on par with or above global standards.”
According to the Ministry of Health, in 2017, 544 patients were treated in India. The statistics also revealed that since 2000, India has been the most common destination for patients to receive treatments. Several other positives were also factored in, towards making India an attractive destination for medical tourism.
“Cutting edge technology to support medical diagnostics and medical procedures are employed by specialists in medical facilities,” said the CDA. “All recognised hospitals have invested a lot in supportive technology and operative techniques. Complicated heart surgeries, cancer care and surgeries, neuro and even general surgeries require high-end technology to continually better outcomes, minimise complications, enable faster recovery and reduce the length of the hospital stay.”
“India not only has hospitals with world-class facilities, but also skilled world-class doctors and medical personnel too,” he told Times of Oman.
“The country has the largest pool of doctors and paramedics in South Asia, namely 1.2 million allopathic doctors, 0.17 million dental surgeons, and two million nurses. Many of them have established their credentials as leaders around the world. India’s medical history spans thousands of years through Ayurvedic and alternate medicine.” Adlakha also added that it was easy not just for Indians living in Oman to avail of quality medical care back home, but that visas for Omanis were also available with ease.
“The Embassy of India, Muscat, has put the processing of medical visas on a fast-track by opening a separate window at its Visa Application Centre. Applications for medical visas are normally processed and issued within three working days,” he said.
“Besides, Omanis going to India for short visits, especially for medical consultations, can apply for an e-visa where the whole process of applying for a visa can be completed online without requiring a visit to the Embassy or the BLS visa application centre.”
Details on e-visas to India are available on www.indianvisaonline.gov.in. The most number of patients coming from Oman for treatment to India last year was for ophthalmic diseases, with 182 cases, followed by neurologic diseases and neoplasm.
Vidya Rani runs an agency that provides comprehensive medical tourism services, ranging from which hospital patients need to go to and flight bookings to visa handling. “The advantage that India offers is that you can get treatment for all kinds of ailments there,” she said.
“You get treatment for cardiology, neuropathy, orthopaedics, genetic disorders, everything in one place, which you don’t sometimes get in other countries. I handle a lot of medical tourism requests for other countries as well. Germany, for example, is good for orthopaedics, while Iran is known for cosmetic surgery.”
“But one of the biggest problems we have is with proper medical translators in other nations,” she added.
“In India, you have trained medical translators and this is really important for patients to understand their procedures. In the time I’ve been doing this, 95 per cent of the people who went to India for treatment have come back happy.”
“In addition, the families who go there have the opportunity to see the country, because there is so much to see there and India is really cost-effective that way,” said Rani. “The embassy here also has been extremely helpful in providing visas, and in cases of emergency, I’ve even received visas at midnight when necessary.”
Dr Anchan CK, an investment advisor in Oman, said costs and quality healthcare were two of the main incentives for people in the country to seek treatment in India.
“Persons coming to India for medical treatment can save anywhere between 30 and 70 per cent, including the cost of ticket expenses and accommodation,” he said. “In addition, access to immediate medical procedures is what attracts patients to travel to India. Above all, the faith and trust, which has grown strong over the years, it’s the patients who have been treated and cured in India, who highly recommend the country, as they have tremendous respect for the doctors, the system and the people; it’s a well-knit bond of the human touch which has become stronger over the years.”
“In addition to modern medical treatments, India is also renowned globally for its alternative medical treatments such as Ayurveda and yoga, which are considered among the earliest medical practices in the world,” added CK. “Ayurveda has a cure for many chronic and lifestyle-related ailments including cancer, arthritis, psoriasis and nervous disorders.”