‘Medical Value Travel plays crucial role in ending healthcare disparities’

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Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 20 (IANS) Medical Value Travel (MVT) plays a crucial role in eliminating healthcare disparities across the globe and through the first Health Working Group meeting, G20 India Presidency aims to provide an impetus to create pathways to bridge this gap, said Dr. V.K. Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog.

Paul made the remarks while speaking on the closing day of the three-day meeting of the Health Working Group of G20 India here on Friday.

Speaking on the occasion, Paul said: “There is a great opportunity for utilising traditional medical practices like Ayurveda in Medical Value Travel sector which is witnessing a combined annual growth rate of over 23 per cent.”

At the same time, he also elaborated on the need to build a resilient and sustainable MVT framework.

“MVT could be focused on maintaining, improving or restoring health through medical intervention instead of the common parlance of visiting another country to seek medication. It can be achieved by providing access to quality and cost-effective medical care, transparent pricing, seamless travel to medical value travel destinations, attainment of Universal Health Coverage and ensuring low waiting time for medical treatment,” he pointed out.

Paul also highlighted four key enablers to achieve Universal Health Coverage which includes incorporating digitisation and technology advancements; renewing focus on holistic healing through integrated healthcare offerings; ensuring effective quality assurance through regulation, standardisation, accreditation and streamlining of institutional procedures; and forming partnerships among stakeholders for convergence of health, hospitality and travel services.

Emphasising strengthening the ecosystem for MVT, Paul underscored the need for effective governance and policy framework, including setting up of dedicated board and agency for MVT.

He stressed on the need for developing standards and accreditation for healthcare facilities and Medical Travel Facilitators and called for enabling digitisation in the MVT segment.

He further highlighted the need for ensuring availability of medical insurance portability and coverage of traditional systems of medicine under insurance policies at the international level, enhancing accessibility and patient experience through a liberalised visa policy and improved air connectivity and capacity building of healthcare enterprises and staff.

Focusing on India’s efforts and vision, Paul said: “The government will be launching ‘Heal in India’ initiative to leverage its healthcare services for international patients, ‘Heal by India’ initiative to send out healthcare workforce to other countries. He also emphasised on the huge strength of India in the telemedicine sector which could pave the way for ‘Heal from India’ initiative.”

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