Thanks to the abundant availability of cheap and good doctors, Jammu and Kashmir may well become the next medical tourism hub in India.
Leading doctors of Kashmir valley have got together in Srinagar, to attend the inaugural function of 55th Annual Conference of Indian Association of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeons (IACTS) at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convocation Centre (SKICC).
Senior cardiologists of Kashmir revealed that the cardiac surgery in Kashmir costs 80 per cent less than New Delhi, 95 per cent less than Europe and 98.5 per cent less than its cost in the United States.
The doctors explained that keeping the cost effectiveness in mind and the availability of modern expertise and resource, the state had a great potential to tap the opportunity and develop as a medical tourism hub.
Speaking on the occasion was Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra.
Addressing the guests, he emphasized the need for developing medical tourism, as it would be highly beneficial for the state monetarily and otherwise.
"Meckinze study which said that in another two to three years by 2012, if the rate of medical tourism proceeds the present level of increase, then we would be earning anything between 2 billion dollars to 2.5 billion dollars every year," said Vohra.
Doctors said other areas that could be promoted for medical tourism in the State were neurology, plastic surgery, hematology, rheumatology and other related areas in cardiology like angiography and angioplasty.
Doctors are hoping that the conference would help in giving an impetus to medical tourism that would help the State and bring the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) on the medical map of the world.
"In government institutions like us, the SKIMS, the cost effectiveness is very high. A person (poor) cannot go to a private hospital, so they can come to government hospitals. Thus, we have a lot of avenues for medical tourism.
Those operations that costs Rs 30 lakhs in America, Rs 20 lakh in Europe and Rs 3-5 lakhs in a private hospital in New Delhi, the same operation can be done here in Rs 50 thousand to Rs 1 lakh," said Dr. AG Ahangar, head of the department, Cardio Vascular and Thoracic Surgery at the SKIMS.
More than 150 papers regarding cardiovascular and thoracic surgery will be read during the three-day conference.
Experts believe that the scenic beauty and the pollution free atmosphere in Kashmir valley can be a positive factor for medical tourism.
Doctors from Spain have also come to attend the conference, which will conclude today.