Availability of quality and affordable healthcare services has put Tamil Nadu in third spot in drawing overseas patients to the country, next to Delhi and Mumbai. The State’s potential as health tourism destination will be showcased at the Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) two-day international conference and exhibition — Tamil Nadu Health Tourism 2013 – on April 19 and 20 at Chennai Trade Centre.

The event will serve as a platform to discuss emerging trends, challenges in healthcare tourism sector and issues pertaining to the patients including medical insurance, legal aspects, food and translators at hospitals.

“Indian hospitals primarily draw patients from the Middle East, Far East and African countries. In Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Vellore and Coimbatore get a large number of overseas patients especially from Iran, Iraq and Sudan, while places including Madurai and Tiruchi receive patients from Dubai, Middle East and Sri Lanka,” S. Chandrakumar, convenor, Healthcare Panel, CII Tamil Nadu, told reporters on Thursday.

Most of the overseas patients sought treatment for cardiac ailments, cancer, joint replacement, cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries and dental treatment, he said.

In the last 10 years, the health care scenario has improved throughout the country with the availability of various specialities, sub-specialities, high-end technology and skilled doctors. Over 60,000 cardiac surgeries are performed every year. Patients from over 55 countries are treated at various Indian hospitals,” he pointed out.

The State was in a better position in terms of hospitals, specialities and cost when compared to other States in the country. “Overseas patients expect safety, quality and cost effective treatment,” he said.

One of the major advantages of the medical tourism industry here was the cost-effectiveness, Dr. Chandrakumar noted. He said last year, the country earned nearly 2.5 billion US dollars through foreign patients and this was expected to grow by 25 per cent in the next five years.

The State Tourism Ministry is partnering the event. The Health and Tourism departments would have separate pavilions, while hHospitals, insurance companies, travel and tour operators, medical tourism promoters are the other exhibitors at the event.

Delegates from Africa, Taiwan, UK, US, Germany, Australia and China would also participate.

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