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City emerging as medical tourismhub for NRIs from Punjab

punjab Updated: Aug 11, 2013 18:19 IST
Harshraj Singh

Ludhiana has emerged as a fast growing destination of medical tourism for Non Resident Indians (NRIs) from Punjab, who are visiting city hospitals or nurshing homes/clinics for cheaper medical treatment as compared to the country they are living in.

Every year a large number of NRIs flock to the city to get benefit of cheaper medical treatment. Besides dental treatment, many of them prefer to get their surgeries for various diseases conduct here too.

According to city doctors, they provide treatment of various diseases to patients using the same technologies as have been used abroad, but around eight times cheaper than the cost of treatment in countries like the US, the UK or Canada.

Earlier, mostly, NRIs used to visit the city for treatment in the winter season; but, now they are visiting in good numbers these days also, says doctors.

According to 43-year-old Sukhwinder Kaur, an NRI from the US: she was advised to get her uterus removed by doctors in the US, but she decided to come India as the cost of surgery was much cheaper here. Her uterus was removed at a city-based Rama Sofat Hospital on August 7.
Dr Amit Sofat of the hospital said Sukhwinder was suffering from a problem of uterus that required removal; and thus, we performed on her the key hole surgery (Total Laproscopic Hysterectomy).

He further said the treatment costs of surgery came around Rs 70,000 here, but the same surgery would have costed around Rs 8 lakh in the US.

“Many NRI patients are coming to the hospital these days for surgery or other treatment; because, if a person does not have health insurance in the US, then the treatment of a diseases becomes very costly there,” added Dr Sofat.

A dentist, Dr Gagan Dogra, who runs a private clinic, said on an average seven NRIs visit to his clinic every month; whereas, earlier, they used to come in winters only. The main reason behind their visit to the city hospitals/clinics is to get cured from diseases and, at the same time, to spend some time with their family members as well, added Dr Dogra.

“The dental implantation cost here is between Rs 30,000 and Rs 40,000, but the same implantation would cost around Rs 2 lakh in the US,” said Dr Dogra, adding that the cost of root canal is around 4,000, whereas the same treatment would cost around Rs 60,000 in the US or Canada.

Dr Harinder Singh Bedi, head of the cardio vascular and thoracic surgery at Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), said: “On an average, three patients from abroad visit CMCH for heart surgery every month, but their numbers swell in winters eapecially.”

When asked about the cost of surgery, he said: “A heart surgery costs here around Rs 1.5 lakh, while it costs around Rs 20 lakh in the US.

According to SPS Apollo Hospitals, around 25-30 patients from foreign countries visit to the hospital every month to take required treatment for various diseases.