Medical Tourism in India

Seeking a differentiator

Sangita Reddy

Sangita Reddy

Executive Director Apollo Hospitals Group India

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India's traditional medicine methods are popular abroad, and Ayurveda, in particular, is a huge draw for tourists travelling to India.

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What made Apollo Hospitals take the initiative of opening a 100 % Ayurveda Treatment Centre? What are Apollo’s future plans with regard to this new foray?

Apollo views India’s indigenous systems of medicine as complementary to allopathic practices. In keeping with this view, we have pioneered Rehabilitation and Rejuvenation Centres, besides advocating the concept of ‘wellness’ as an absolute pre-requisite to preventing disease and promoting health.

Also in keeping with our view to provide holistic care for improved quality of life, we set up an Ayurveda centre that provides outpatient consultation and treatment therapies for a range of conditions. The centre offers treatment therapies for rejuvenation, stress management, obesity etc.

Can holistic medicine be incorporated in mainstream healthcare?

Indigenous systems of healthcare have always had an important role to play in our country. The government too has openly acknowledged this, and talked about their integration with mainstream medicine as envisaged in the National Health Policy of 2002 and the National Rural Health Mission of 2005.

Do you think that incorporation of Ayurveda into the mainstream science would give an edge to India over other Asian countries in the Medical Tourism sector?

India has always healed the world, right from the days of Charaka and Sushruta. India’s traditional medicine methods are popular abroad, and Ayurveda, in particular, is a huge draw for tourists travelling to India. The Medical Tourism industry, which initially operated on similar lines, catered to the demand for the holistic treatment of the mind and the body.

Today, as the Indian healthcare industry is coming into its own on the strength of its value proposition in terms of the global quality of care at about a fraction of the cost, we have begun to attract a sizeable number of foreigners who seek our healthcare services for elective surgeries. But the concept of providing uniquely Indian value addition, in the form of the rejuvenation and therapeutic power of Ayurveda, remains valid yet small.

What synergies do you see between Ayurveda and mainstream medicine?

There has been very little work dedicated to research in this area. Apollo has plans to use the auspices of its AHERF (Apollo Hospitals Education and Research Foundation) to look into the possibilities of some groundwork in this area, especially in the realm of chronic conditions.

Also, Medvarsity, Apollo’s distance education platform, already runs a one year online programme in Holistic Healthcare as a fellowship for graduates in any discipline of medicine, including MBBS. The emphasis of the programme is on eliminating the cause of disease, rather than treating its symptoms alone. The doctor-students taking the course are presented a wide array of therapies for treating disease and creating optimal health. They learn the scope of holistic medicine, in making it an essential part of the medicine of the new millennium.

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