With several healthcare facilities coming up in the African region, healthcare providers in India will need to rise to a new level of care
1. In Nigeria, an advanced tertiary care facility will be commissioned in the next six months and two more hospitals are to be commissioned.
I was participating at an inaugural ceremony of a cancer centre in Ahmedabad in January 2012 by Amitabh Bachchan, and I take the privilege to quote him here: “I have never gone abroad for treatment, as I believe that the best medical care is available in our country. I am glad to know that Indian doctors are coming back from overseas to start hospitals such as this. This will be a hope to millions of cancer patients and add to their quality of lives.” It made me ponder on the reasons his friends Amar Singh and Rajnikant had gone to Singapore. A week later, Yuvaraj Singh left to the US for his cancer treatment. Somewhere personal choices, others were for reasons best known to politicians. There are various reasons that people travel to India, which is in the epicentre of Asia’s medical value travel destination.
Value is what matters when you look at it from any perspective and this is what even Indians look at to take treatment in India or abroad and also those who choose to come from various countries across the globe to India
It is interesting to note how this will change with the changing landscape in the source markets that these patients are coming from. A recent article published by a magazine showcased featured articles by various healthcare facilities and facilitators, stating that most patients were travelling to India from West Africa, East Africa, CIS and the Middle East and in that order. A large percentage of the patients come from Nigeria and Kenya. I have narrowed the topic to these countries to let us understand the changes that are occurring in these countries and I would also restrict the article to tertiary care and quaternary care.
Kenya is expected to commission four state-of-theart tertiary care facilities in the next three years and three existing facilities are being upgraded to provide advanced medical care: Nairobi Hospital, MP Shah and Agha Khan. Out of the four tertiary care facilities, three are partnering with healthcare organisations from India
In Nigeria, an advanced tertiary care facility will be commissioned in the next six months and two more hospitals are to be commissioned, with the recent investment made by IFHA, IFC and Ciel Healthcare. In the only JCI accredited hospital at Nigeria, Lagoon, the services and clinical delivery are bound to change and this will be accelerated with the benefit that they will derive from Fortis Healthcare managing the facility. In both these countries, investment opportunities are currently pursued by strategic investors who are keen to create accessible healthcare facilities with a clear objective to ensure that patients don’t travel out of the country and the citizens have access to quality healthcare.
In Kenya and Nigeeria, investment opportunities are currently pursued by strategic investors who are keen to create accessible healthcare facilities.
Will all the changes reduce the number of patients that are travelling to India? Yes, with these changes, healthcare providers back in India will need to introspect and actually rise to a new level of care and focus on medical outcome which will only come through by providing quaternary care, innovation, artificial intelligence and robotics. This will bring value back to India, greater than what it is currently. While the healthcare providers will need to focus on this, the government needs to ensure that the eco-system that it is currently for medical value travellers change to a far better experience, be it visa, airport experience, immigration, FRRO office or the way Indians view foreigners. It is not too late for the government and the medical institutions to work together to make India the most preferred medical value travel destination.
Dinesh Madhavan is director, healthcare services, Health Care Global Enterprises Limited.