Medical Value Travel plays crucial role in eliminating healthcare disparities: Dr V K Paul

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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 an impetus to create pathways to bridge this gap, said Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog on the closing day of the three day meeting of the Health Working Group of G20 India at here Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Paul said, “There is a great opportunity for utilizing traditional medical practices like Ayurveda in Medical Value Travel sector which is witnessing a combined annual growth rate of over 23%”. At the same time, he also elaborated on the need to build a resilient and sustainable MVT framework.

“Medical Value Travel 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.

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

Emphasizing strengthening ecosystem for Medical Value Travel, Dr Paul underscored the need for effective governance and policy framework, including setting up of dedicated board and agency for Medical Value Travel. He stressed on the need for developing standards and accreditation for healthcare facilities and Medical Travel Facilitators and called for enabling digitization in the Medical Value Travel 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, Dr. V K Paul said that “Government of India 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 emphasized on the huge strength of India in telemedicine sector which could pave the way for “Heal from India” initiative.