More international flights can turn Punjab into medical tourism hub

SAS Nagar, December 6: The second day of the Progressive Punjab Investors Summit – 2019 on Friday saw delegates call for more international flights from the state to harness its massive potential to emerge as a Medical Tourism hub.

With its state-of-the-art infrastructure, skilled manpower and government support to set up new multi-speciality hospitals, coupled with its vibrant Hospitality sector, Punjab was an ideal state to emerge as a hub of medical tourism, pointed out the delegates at the session on ‘Developing Punjab into a hub of International and Domestic Medical Tourism’.

The only thing the Punjab Government needs to do is to press upon the Union Government to bring more direct international flights in the State from CIS Nations, such as Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, and to cater to NRI populations in USA, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand, in order to attract NRI patients, the delegates stressed.

At the onset, Arurag Aggarwal, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, gave a detailed presentation highlighting the availability of world-class medical healthcare infrastructure, skilled manpower and the roadmap of the Punjab Government for futuristic endeavours in the health sector. The State of Punjab has 6 Medical Colleges, 13 Dental Colleges and a sizeable number of nursing colleges, he pointed out, adding that all the major healthcare players had their hospitals in the state, such as Fortis, Ivy, Max, Apollo, Medcard, Swift Hospital, Grecian, Global, Capitol, CMC, DMC.

The Principal Secretary noted that the 100-bedded Homi Baba Cancer hospital established in Sangrur in collaboration with Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, had treated 7000 patients in just two years and registered 12,000 patients in five years. The Hospitality sector is also experiencing a boost across the major cities of the state, he said, adding that the government was also in serious discussions with other big groups for new establishments and expansion projects.

A New Medicity for medical eco-system over a projected area of 350 acres would be coming up by next year adjoining Chandigarh, he said, adding that prominent healthcare players were setting up their healthcare establishments in it.

Padma Bhushan Awardee Dr. KK Talwar said that Punjab was already witnessing Medical Tourism from Central Asian nations, US, UK-based NRIs and from adjoining states such as Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. This, he said, was due to the strong presence of a healthcare delivery ecosystem, with over 2173 multi-specialty and super-specialty hospitals equipped with advanced treatment facilities for eye-surgery, cardiology, IVF, hip & knee replacement, dental surgery, gall bladder removal etc. This ecosystem is complemented by a strong presence of academia spanning the ecosystem, from medical colleges to nursing colleges, pharmacy colleges & research institutions, thus providing the necessary human capital, he added.

Apart from Dr. KK Talwar, other panelist who took part in the discussion included Dr. Ashutosh Raghuvanshi MD & CEO Fortis Healthcare, Dr. Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director Apollo Hospitals,   Cdr. Jelson Kavalakkat, CEO Aster Medcity Kochi , Dr. Kanwaldeep Kaur, Medical Director Ivy Hospitals, and Director Service Export Promotion Council , Ms. Sangeeta Godbole, IRS.

Senior doctors from big hospitals of Mumbai, Kerala, New Delhi, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Mohali and Ludhiana attended the session.

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