India Medical Tourism: Pakistanis Spend the Most Per Patient
Pakistan is an important and lucrative source of medical tourism dollars in India. The kind of facilities Pakistanis pay to use in India are not accessible to poor Indian masses who must rely on India's decrepit public health system.
A 2017 report by Indian ministry of commerce and industry says an average Pakistani spends Rs 187,000 on treatment in India. Those from Bangladesh spend Rs 134,000 on an average, followed by those from Commonwealth countries (Rs 125,000), Russia (Rs 104,000) and Iraq (Rs 98,554).
Times of India quoted Manish Chandra of Vaidam medical travel agency as saying: "This is because Pakistani patients mostly come for organ transplants and heart surgeries for children that are costly." In 2015-16, he said, nearly 166 Pakistanis received treatment in India every month. Top Delhi hospitals, which are frequented by foreign nationals, confirmed this.
Most of the Pakistani patients suffering from liver and heart ailments go to major for-profit hospitals in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and other cities, according to TOI. The number of Pakistani patients, however, has seen a sharp drop since February this year when the Indian government decided to stop granting medical visas to retaliate after Pakistan handed out a death sentence to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav. In other words, humanitarian concerns take a back seat to Modi government's policies to assert India's dominance in the region.
The Times of India sums up the situation as follows: India's imposition of restrictions on the issue of medical visas to Pakistanis has not just affected hundreds of patients from across the border but also dealt a body blow to medical tourism in India.
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