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.
“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.