Mauritius seeks India's help to boost medical tourism

"India is a growing power in the field of both tertiary healthcare and drug development. We are inviting major players in your country to invest in Mauritius. Pharmaceutical, hospital and clinical trials ... the opportunity for Indian players here are very good," said Nitin Pandea, head of Healthcare and Life Sciences Cluster in the Board of Investment, Mauritius.

"As you know, both Fortis and Apollo hospital chains have entered our country. They have generated hundreds of jobs. We are in talks with a few more hospital chains in India. At least two more including an eye care hospital chain is set to invest in our country," Pandea told IANS from Port Louis over telephone.
He said  the Indian Ocean island now gets fewer than 4,000 foreigners a year coming for medical treatment and wants India's help to increase its revenue from this sector. India gets around 500,000 foreign patients from across the world every year.
"Once big names from India enter, it will instill more faith among patients from abroad. We have started feeling the effect and hope to invite over 10,000 medical tourists to our nation.

"Currently, thousands of people from Africa are coming to India for complicated medical treatment as medical expenses in India are far lower than in Europe and the US. Setting up hospitals here will bring benefit to both Mauritius and the hospital chains," he added.
Pandea said many patients don't like to travel far for health problems and providing them the same facilities closer home will boost revenues of these hospitals.
"The entry of Apollo and Fortis into the Mauritius healthcare sector says a great deal about how Mauritius itself is viewed by the global economic community. The government of Mauritius has recognised that the healthcare sector is important to the country's social, community, and economic development," Ed L. Hansen, chief executive officer of Apollo Bramwell Hospital of Mauritius, told IANS.

"(The) Apollo Bramwell Hospital has been designed to serve both Mauritius and the international community. Our target market for international services (medical travel) includes the continent of Africa and the eastern Indian Ocean rim. We believe we are positioned to provide the finest infrastructure, clinical care and customer service east of Johannesburg and west of India," Hansen said in an e-mail.
Pandea also said that the Mauritius Board of Investment (a government body) is keen to better its global positioning in the field of clinical trial and drug development. "Though I cannot give you the exact amount of investment we are looking for from India, I can say that we are hoping to get more players in the pharma and clinical trial fields."

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