Largest foreign recipients of health services in India are Bangladeshis

A Monitor Report 16 May, 2017  |    -      +
New Delhi : According to an Indian government report published recently, one in three foreign patients in India is from Bangladesh.

There were 460,000 inbound patients in In-dian hospitals and of them more than 165,000 were from Bangla-desh, which means one in three foreign patients were from Bangla-desh.

The Bangla-deshis bought over US$343 million worth of services, Indian newspaper Business Standard said quoting the Directorate-General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics.

In that period, more than 58,000 medical visas were issued from Bangladesh which means many having other categories of visas took medical attention in India. The government report shows that Bangladeshis were, in fact, the largest foreign user of their health services in 2015-16.

The Indian government has now extended the visa facilities for the diagnostic tests to attract more patients. as the medical service sector is thriving on Bangladeshi patients, Bangladesh last year toppled the US as the origin of the highest number of foreign tourists, mostly due to medical tourism.

With the growing trend of people's movement, both sides have also expanded the routes of travel.

A new bus service between Kolkata and Dhaka and a rail link between Kolkata and Khulna were inaugurated earlier on April 8 during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also responded to the request of Bangladesh to give medical visa also for diagnostic tests.

For India, medical tourism from nations with higher average health costs or poor infrastructure stood at US$620 million in 2016-17.

Bangladesh is followed by Afghanistan (29,400), Iraq (9139) and Nigeria (5994) as the recipients of the highest number of medical visas.

However, with US$111 million, the United States was the second after Bangladesh in the cumulative figure of spen-ding for medical treatment.

The report also listed contract research and telemedicine as promising areas, while clinical trials were still a small market. Orthopaedics, cardiology and neurology were among the top draw for foreign patients.

The service exports of India rose to US$155 billion in 2015 from US$52 billion in 2005, with a share of 3.3 per cent in global services exports.

In the first 11 months of 2016-17, services exports were at US$146.5 billion, according to Business Standard.

Information technology and software services contribute over 48 percent to India's overall services exports.

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