Healthcare market in India is expected to reach USD 372 billion by 2022, driven by rising income, better health awareness, lifestyle diseases and increasing access to insurance, according to the report by IBEF. In the Economic Survey of 2022, India’s public expenditure on healthcare stood at 2.1 per cent of GDP in 2021–22, against 1.8 per cent in 2020-21. The Indian medical tourism market was valued at USD 2.89 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 13.42 billion by 2026, said the IBEF report.
The inflow of Uzbek patients to India and especially to New Delhi is increasing exponentially. Around 8,000 patients come to New Delhi every year for medical treatments and the approximate market size is USD 30 million. Aakash Healthcare has opened a Multi-Speciality Hospital in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The company plans to invest USD 10 million and provide 200 direct jobs in the next three years.
Previously, Apollo Hospitals has already announced operating & managing tertiary care hospital in Uzbekistan.Uzbekis have major liver issues, and nearly 15 per cent of the population suffers from Hepatitis B. The majority of patients come to India for complex surgeries like liver transplants, cancer surgeries, Neuro and orthopedic procedures.
The following are the questions asked by Businessworld to Akash Healthcare about their new undertaking in Uzbekistan:
How different is the approach of Uzbeki and CIS citizens towards healthcare from that of Indians, as we Indians prefer minimalistic preventive healthcare and usually refer to healthcare only when requisite?
"The people out there aren’t very different from Indians. They are active seekers for healthcare. The only concern is that areas away from Tashkent aren’t as developed as the capital city. In my experience those away from Tashkent were hardly getting any treatment due to lack of availability of specialist. This is one step, but with many other healthcare players going there and making the people aware about the facilities available, they will definitely seek care in the early stages of the disease," said Dr Ashish Chaudry Managing Director, Akash Healthcare.
There must be a linguistic barrier in Uzbekistan, so are you training your healthcare staff to overcome such barriers?
"While operating in Uzbekistan, we did face difficulty explaining the way we operate to them. So, we have done the entire drill taking the middle and senior level staff from nursing, doctors and other areas. They, in turn will monitor and train the local staff to attain the necessary level," said Dr Ashish.
Was there any help from the government of Uzbekistan in establishing the hospital in Tashkent?
"We never had any hurdle from any health official. In fact, the investment has been made easy with help in attracting the investors. With a single window, things are done. It is highly appreciated that government of Uzbekistan is helping a lot for the participation of foreign Investors, especially in the field of healthcare. Also, regarding the training part, every month the Uzbeki government is sending around 50 specialists across India to train them in their speciality," said Vikramjeet Singh, Vice President, Akash Healthcare.
With the hospital’s capacity is 50 beds, will the hospital leverage service through visual healthcare or teleconsultancy in Uzbekistan?
"We already have one group set up for teleconsultation. The IT system is the same as in Dwarika. Moreover, we will be establishing the same system there to develop two-way communication. The 50-bed facility will be upgraded to 75 in six months. They have already submitted the revised plan to the local licencing authority for approval of the changes in infrastructure and equipment ahead," said Vikramjeet.