Dakshina Kannada district is slowly opening up to medical tourism and the increasing number of patients from across the globe serve a testimony to this. In the last three years, as many as 240 foreigners have availed treatment in three prominent hospitals in the city. Of these, 50 percent patients arrived in Mangaluru in 2018-19. KMC Hospitals, AJ Hospital and Yenepoya Specialty Hospital have seen the maximum number of patients from foreign countries, including those from the US. According to doctors, patients from foreign countries trust Mangaluru only next to Bengaluru and Chennai with getting quality treatment. While the city is yet to carve its niche in the West due to lack of publicity, affordability and hospitality is what is currently driving patients from the Gulf and Africa to this coastal city. Use of ultramodern technology is another reason, as the patients say they are satisfied with the quality of service and treatment.
Currently, the highest inflow of foreign patients into Mangaluru is from the Gulf countries. Patients have also been arriving in increasing numbers from England, Belgium, Denmark, France and Kenya, among other countries. KMC Hospitals, Mangaluru, treated a total 10 foreigners 2016-17, 16 patients in 2017-18 and eight in 2018-19. AJ Hospital treated 10 foreign patients in 2016-17, 55 patients in 2017-18 and 73 in 2018-19. At Yenepoya Specialty Hospital, 68 foreigners have availed treatment in the last three financial years, with as many as 40 arriving here in the last financial year. The hospital has seen the highest number of patients from the Gulf nations, mainly Oman.
Father Muller Charitable Institutions and Unity Hospital, too, have treated a few foreign patients in the last couple of years. “Friendly doctors, supportive staff, cutting-edge technology, state-of-the-art equipment, easy accessibility due to presence of an international airport here, and most importantly, the spirit of ‘athithi devo bhava’ (the guest is like God) are the reasons why there is a boom in medical tourism in Mangaluru. This number is likely to increase, provided we keep giving quality treatment,” said cardiologist Dr Padmanabah Kamath. Dr Sachidananda Rai, president, IMA, Mangaluru, said patients from the Gulf region and African countries had taken a liking to getting medical treatment in Mangaluru, and that the city was slowly opening up to Westerners for medical tourism. – TOI