Better air connectivity to international destinations can boost medical tourism
When Mukakigeri Claudine, who runs a grocery store in a town in Rwanda, Africa, was diagnosed with stomach cancer, her son studying in a Tiruchi college went online to find a local hospital that could treat her cancer.
It pays for a hospital to have an active online presence as the Dr. G.Viswanathan Specialty Hospital discovered when the son zeroed in on them.
After a consultation about treatment and costs with doctor K. Govindaraj, director of the hospital, and a letter from the hospital, a medical visa was acquired for Ms.Mukakigeri.
The family had preferred to take treatment in India as facilities here were much better than what’s available back home, the son had told Dr. Govindaraj.
A month ago, Ms. Claudine, a single mother, was diagnosed with an ulcerated stricture, which is like an obstruction, in the gastric outlet, at King Faisal Hospital in Kigali, Rwanda. She had complained of pain in the abdomen, indigestion, and nausea.
A biopsy revealed that it was indicative of an early stage of stomach cancer.
On her arrival, the tumour board of the hospital here, which has medical, surgical and radiation cancer specialists on it, decided to perform radical gastrectomy on the patient.
In this procedure, part of the stomach and surrounding lymph nodes are removed as a pre-emptive measure to check the spread of cancer, said Dr. K.Srinivasan.
In her case, two-thirds of stomach and surrounding tissue was removed.
The patient, who underwent the surgery on May 22, is recuperating and will return home shortly.
As a part of the stomach has been removed, the patient has been advised to take lesser portions of food at frequent intervals.
The cost of the surgery was estimated at Rs. 2 lakh.
The patient has been advised follow-up including chemotherapy in Rwanda. Doctors from the Tiruchi hospital will be in touch with her through telemedicine, said Dr. Govindaraj.
As surgeries cost lesser in Tiruchi than in metros like Chennai or Bangalore, city hospitals stand a chance to tap into medical tourism from Asian and African countries.
With Tiruchi housing the second major international airport in the State, airlines with connecting flights to more international destinations can attract medical tourists, feels Kanagaraj, chairman of the hospital. More hotels and service apartments would boost this trend, as they play an important role in postoperative care.