KOZHIKODE: Musabah Saeed Khalfan Al brought his younger brother Mohammad Saeed Khalfan all the way from Oman to Kozhikode to check the accuracy of a diagnosis report which they had received from a leading hospital at their native place.
After a thorough check up at the Malabar Institute of Medical Sciences (MIMS) here he was told that the doctors in Oman had made a mistake with the original diagnosis and his brother was not suffering from cancer.
“Praise to lord, this diagnosis report is such a huge relief for us,” said Musabah Saeed Khalfan after consulting the doctor.
“I am thankful for the facilities and expert doctors available here,” he said.
Musabah’s is not an isolated case. Doctors of many major private hospitals in North Malabar come across several such patients, especially, those from the Middle East who come here to verify the diagnosis made by the doctors back home or else for treatment due to the better facilities available here.
For the Arabs, North Kerala is turning out to be a healthcare hub as almost all the leading private hospitals here offer special treatment facilities, international desks, international waiting lounge, exclusive wards or rooms for them. When contacted Dr R Bijayaraj, convenor of the Academy of Family Physicians of India(AFPI) Kerala chapter, he said the cost of treatment and assured quality are the two significant elements that attract foreign patients to Kerala. At a time when they have to pay `25,OOO for an MRI scan in gulf countries we charge only `4,OOO, which they find to be affordable.”
Saleh Mohammed Hussein from Yemen, baby Mallak from Oman and Hassan Abdulla Yusuf Al from Bahrain are the patients who came to Kerala after learning about the medical facilities available here through word of mouth.
“Appropriate advices at all the stages of the caring process is new to me. Hence, I prefer coming to the Malabar region for treatment,” said Mohammed Ahammed from UAE. Al Shifa Hospital at Perinthalmanna in Malappuram district is another big hospital which caters to a huge influx of foreign patients.
“Patient satisfaction is an important dimension of healthcare sector.
“Since our departments have Arab as well as African patients the total revenue of the hospital increases by `3.5 to 4 Crore annually,” said NP Muhammadali, manager of the Department of Overseas Operation in Al Shifa.
“Though treatment facilities for the foreigners were available at MIMS hospital during its initial years, the international desk got into full swing from 2006 onwards,” said Georgiana Vandana, deputy manager of Medical Value Travel, MIMS Hospital.
“Every day our doctors have at least 30 Arab patients for consultation,” she said adding that Medical tourism in the state has emerged as the fastest growing segment of tourism industry.
Family members or those who accompany the patient are also fascinated by the old world charm of Malabar region and make it a point to visit various tourist spots while the patient undergoes treatment.
There is an increase in the number of patients over years.
According to Georgiana Vandana, 45 percent of the hospital’s total revenue is from the international desk. Similar facilities are available at Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), Lakeshore and Lourde Hospital in southern part of the state.