Public-private partnerships for inclusive development : role of private corporate sector in provision of healthcare services
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Anita MedhekarAnita Medhekar
Travelling abroad for medical treatment, also known as healthcare tourism is a growing phenomenon. Medical tourism is a provision of cost effective private medical care by corporate hospitals such as Apollo, Wockhardt, Sancheti and Fortis, in partnership with the government, medical and the tourism industry for patients needing elective, diagnostic, cosmetic surgery and alternative therapies. Many patients from developed as well as developing countries of South Asia and Africa are travelling to India for complex medical treatment in search of value for money. In 2009, India was ranked second only to Thailand as a medical destination due to low cost of surgery and number of medical tourists. Individual states such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra in partnership with private corporate sector hospitals are promoting and attracting foreign tourists for highly complex surgical procedures such as hip and knee replacements, cancer treatment, dental, reproductive and organ transplant. Given the privatisation and private finance initiatives during the 1990 Rao-reforms, healthcare provision was opened to corporate sector attracting foreign direct investment. This also led to the adoption of WHO macroeconomic health strategy of investment in health, as a pathway for economic development for developing countries. The Minister of Finance, in the 10th 2003-2007 budget speech called for India to become a world class “Global Health Destination”. Thus on one hand, India is providing world class quality of medical treatment in state-of-the- art facilities to foreign patients and on the other hand, is struggling to provide equitable access to health infrastructure and basic primary healthcare for millions living in poverty. The aim of this paper is to examine the sustainable and inclusive development of medical tourism in India by the corporate private sector. The introductory section of the paper provides a background to the medical tourism industry provided by the corporate sector. Section two puts forward a brief literature review on medical tourism. Section three critically examines the government policy initiatives to support the sustainable development of medical tourism industry. Section four provides managerial and policy implications and finally conclusions.