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India plans to draft Medical Tourism Policy

India’s G20 Presidency, guided by the overarching theme of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future,’ aligns with the philosophies of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ and ‘Sarve Santu Niramaya.’ In line with this vision, India envisions a world where the health of our planet and the well-being of every individual are interconnected – ‘One Earth – One Health.’

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India organized the ‘One Earth One Health- Advantage Healthcare India 2023’ event in association with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). The MoHFW has co-branded the event with India’s G20 Presidency. The event was held from 26-27 April 2023 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India.

The event was inaugurated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi and was graced by Health Ministers of Somalia, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Ghana, Armenia, Egypt, Guinea, Maldives and Nigeria, along with the official delegation from these countries. The event also saw the presence of the Hon’ble Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare and Chemicals and Fertilizers, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, Chief Minister of Tripura, Dr Manik Saha and Chief Minister of Sikkim, Prem Singh Tamang. Furthermore, Dr V.K. Paul (Member, NITI Aayog), members from the State Cabinet, Dr Sangita Reddy (JMD, Apollo Group of Hospitals) and representatives from the industry were also present during the event.

With the theme of ‘One Earth One Health’, the two-day event emphasized the importance of global collaborations and partnerships for building resilient global health architecture. It further highlighted India’s aim to work collaboratively towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through value-based healthcare, with a key focus on patient mobility and healthcare workforce mobility.

The Hon’ble Prime Minister invoked the inclusive vision of health promoted by India, taking inspiration from its civilizational ethos and ancient scriptures. He mentioned that “India’s ancient vision of health was universal. Today, when we say ‘One Earth, One Health’, it is the same thought in action”. He further highlighted India’s strength of “Talent, Technology, Track Record and Tradition”.

The One Earth One Health-Advantage Healthcare India 2023 event was a huge success and became the biggest Government sponsored Medical Value Travel (MVT) event held across the world. The event witnessed the presence of 500+ foreign delegates from 73 countries, and held over 9444 (B2B, G2G, B2G) meetings between hospital chains, start-ups, insurance companies and medical value travel facilitators. Furthermore, a field visit to Indian hospitals was organized for health ministers from across the world to witness the Indian healthcare infrastructure.

During the event, 286 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed by 9 Indian healthcare organizations with international healthcare organizations; spanning across the areas of patient referrals (gastroenterology, cardiology, neurology, oncology, transplant surgery), doctor & nurse training, observership, CMEs, camps, digital promotions, patient management, etc.

These MoUs were signed with global healthcare organizations from Uzbekistan, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Oman, Kenya, Ethiopia, Congo, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Iraq, Burundi, Botswana, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Russia, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, UAE, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Bhutan, Iran, Myanmar, Guinea, Turkey, Thailand, Ghana, Azerbaijan, Sudan, Cameroon, Somalia, Rwanda, Zambia, Mauritius, Uganda, Turkmenistan, Cambodia and Bahrain.

The Internationale Tourismus Börse (ITB), Berlin awarded the Global Medical Tourism Award 2023 to the MoHFW (Government of India) for India’s ​ holistic approach to healthcare, ​ innovative offerings and exceptional medical treatment facilities.

Additionally, a knowledge paper on MVT with the title: “Healthcare Beyond Boundaries” was also unveiled by the Hon’ble Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, during the event. The knowledge paper covers policy-level interventions across 8 identified strategic pillars —Quality Medical Services, Medical Infrastructure Creation, Accreditation & Recognition, Insurance and payments, Medical Tourist Visa and Ecosystem Development, Branding, Marketing and Outreach, Capacity Building and Accessibility —to strengthen the entire MVT ecosystem.

Furthermore, 14 panel sessions were conducted with eminent speakers and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from Ministry of Health, Tourism, External Affairs, Commerce and Industry, AYUSH and industry fora. These panel sessions included ‘Regional Roundtable Sessions’ with representatives from South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Gulf and African regions. These panel sessions focused on global collaborations and partnerships. Additionally, panel discussion on ‘Overcoming the Global Shortage of Healthcare Professionals’, CEO roundtable session, discussions around start-up ecosystem within MVT, impact of technology in healthcare, AYUSH as a Value Addition in Medical Tourism, cooperation for recognition of international degrees and facilitation of MVT through Insurance, were also held. The event also showcased the success stories of Medical Tourism as narrated by international patients in India.

The event witnessed the participation of over 125 exhibitors comprising of leading Indian hospitals, medical value travel facilitators, start-ups, and other healthcare organizations and connected the Indian healthcare providers and foreign delegates in one forum.

The ‘One Earth One Health-Advantage Healthcare India 2023’ event emphasized the importance of holistic healthcare. The Hon’ble Prime Minister highlighted, “for thousands of years, India’s outlook towards health has been holistic”. He further mentioned, “we have a great tradition of preventive and promotive health. Systems such as Yoga and meditation have now become global movements. They are ancient India’s gifts to the modern world. Similarly, our Ayurveda system is a complete discipline of wellness. It takes care of the physical and mental aspects of health.”

India believes that with collective efforts, countries across the world can take a giant leap towards achieving UHC through value-based healthcare and seeks to help healthcare organizations accelerate their efforts towards health system transformation.

India further aims to foster efficient utilisation of each other’s strengths and proposes multilateral collaborations for knowledge sharing to formulate effective policies for accessible, affordable and quality healthcare.

As a way ahead, India plans to draft a Medical Tourism Policy, conduct multistakeholder committee meetings and organize the ‘Global Medical Value Travel Conference’ at the Health Ministerial Meeting during the 4th Health Working Group Meeting, under India’s G20 Presidency. With this India aims to work collaboratively to ensure availability, accessibility and affordability of healthcare and wellness services for all, by leveraging patient mobility and health workforce mobility. Invest India

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