Kerala aims high to woo medical tourists for Ayurvedic treatmnent !!

India is slowly but gradually emerging as a much-preferred destination for Health Tourism, mainly owing to its international level treatment offered at comparative low cost. Moreover, the relaxation in the Visa rules for tourists seeking medical aid has also helped the cause.

However, despite offering almost all kinds of conventional and traditional treatment courses, what catapults India as the most favourable stoppage is its rich culture of Ayurveda. The Indian Ayurvedic drug manufacturers, led by a Government team had recently participated in the World Health Assembly organized by WHO at Geneva, and strongly advocated India’s strength in this particular branch of medicine.

Incidentally, Kerala – the traditional stronghold for Ayurvedic treatment in India, is observing 2006 as “Health Tourism Year” and have roped in Aishwarya Rai and Amitabh Bachchan as their brand ambassadors. Rai and Bachchan will showcase Kerala as the ultimate destination for Ayurvedic treatment in the world, and aim to make the state one of the top five most popular medical care points of the world. It is assumed that cost of treatment in Kerala is generally one-tenth of that elsewhere in the world.

World Bank offers substantial assistance to Indian Health sector !!

The World Bank approved a US$672 million package of assistance to India’s health sector, designed to improve reproductive and child health services, reduce mortality and morbidity due to tuberculosis, and increase utilization of essential health services in the State of Karnataka.

The three projects to be benefited are : (i) The Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) II Project (US$360 million), – targeted at improving the health of poor women and children, who live in rural and tribal areas and urban slums; (ii) the Second National Tuberculosis Control Project (US$170 million) – aimed to achieve the global targets of 70 percent case detection and 85 percent cure rate, and for the zones where Directly Observed Treatment Short course (DOTS) has been under implementation for five or more years, to decrease the incidence of smear-positive Tuberculosis (TB); and (iii) the Karnataka Health Systems Development and Reform Project (US$141.83 million) – which focus on maternal and child health and on communicable diseases, mainly by expanding coverage of essential services in rural and underserved areas.

Health Tourism – a sunrise industry for India !!

In the meanwhile, India’s potential as the Health Tourist spot is being estimated at a premium by the Government sources. As per the Tourism Minister Ms. Ambika Soni, Medical tourism has a potential of growing by a whopping 25 percent annually to fetch India Rs.100 billion ($2.15 billion) a year by 2012.

Ms. Soni has recently released the “Incredible India: The Global Healthcare Destination” brochure at a meet organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). She also informed that in order to promote Brand India, the Tourism Ministry will be partnering in the International Tourism in Berlin 2007, the leading tourism trade fair of the world.

India is fast emerging as the haven for global clinical research trials !!

In a recent development in the field of clinical research, more and more Pharma giants are outsourcing their clinical trials to India. It is expected that the total market for clinical research activities in India will touch $1.50 – 2.00 Billion by 2010. Clinical Research involves drugs trials to verify their clinical, pharmacological or adverse effects to determine their safety and efficacy.

The pharmaceutical companies are facing tremendous pressure on the wake of waning profit margin, spiraling R & D costs and increasing overheads; and hence by virtue of such outsourcing measures, they are saving about 40% to 60% of the new product development cost.

Currently, about 150 trials involving 10,000 patients are in progress in India. The maximum activity is concentrated in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. The trials are for cancer, cardiovascular and psychiatric problems. Among the major companies involved are Wockhardt (doing trials for their new chemical entity WCK 771) and Nicholas Piramal (anti-cancer molecule for oncological problems and herbal compounds for arthritis and fungal infection). Incidentally, at least 73 such clinical trials are being conducted at various Apollo Hospitals across the country at present.

Surat uses yoga and meditiation to come out of flood trauma !!

Traditional Indian therapies like meditation and yoga are proving to be effective to eliminate the mental trauma and internal distress. It is being used by the residents of Surat city in Gujarat, India to de-stress themselves and get over the trauma of remaining stranded and sustaining losses in the flood ravaged city.

Yoga centers are witnessing a rising number of people turning towards yoga and meditation to beat the stress caused by the floods and help deal with the after-effects of the floods. The practitioners say that Yoga and meditation helped them to relax and evaluate the circumstances in a positive manner and continuing it after the floods has helped to overcome the trauma of the past, getting life back together and plan the future optimistically. Acharya Harpal Shastri, who runs camps to de-stress flood affected, says, “Thousands of people are seeking refuge in yoga camps to beat the depression caused by the floods”.

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