India earned USD 7,400 million through medical tourism in last decade

Kolkata: India generated an income of USD 7,400 million through medical tourism over the last decade, and the figure is expected to rise to USD 43,500 million in the next 10 years, officials said.

The health sector in India has seen many private investments in the past five years, they said on Wednesday at the Indian Chamber of Commerce-organised BIMSTEC Health Forum here.

Among the issues discussed by the delegates were the inclusion of mental health under overall health, focus on universal health coverage, telemedicine, information sharing, human capital exchange and collaborative opportunities.

Because BIMSTEC nations are sensitive to climate change, coordination between the commercial and public healthcare sectors, as well as the government, is required to effect good change while keeping the environment in mind, an official said.

Medical tourism is a recognised export from two BIMSTEC members — India and Thailand.

A partnership with the Thai government has also been proposed to adopt Swastha Sathi’ facilities (West Bengal government’s healthcare scheme) and come up with a progressive plan in medical insurance, the officials said.

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organisation that was established in 1997.

The region has a combined population of over 1.68 billion people and a GDP of around USD 2.88 trillion.