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Could Chennai, India be the next big hub for medical tourism? According to an article in The Hindu, it already is. The Indian English-language newspaper described the city in such terms, as people from countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Burundi, Congo, Bangladesh, Oman and Iraq fly down to Chennai for quality medical attention. A frequent draw for medical tourism, Chennai offers the additional bonus of giving patients the opportunity to combine a medical procedure with a vacation.

Although there are lacking consolidated statistics, many leading hospitals in the area receive a steady flow of international patients, and frequently have a separate wing for such. “We get 15 to 20 patients a month from around the world,” says T.I.Joshua, Manager-International Business of Fortis Malar. “Treatment for cardiac, orthopaedic, and neurosurgery are the main reasons for people choosing this hospital. Oncology is catching up,” he says.

Several private hospitals have tied up with governments of other countries. Representatives of Madras Medical Mission say that every month, 14 persons from abroad, mainly from East African nations, come to the hospital as medical tourists. The hospital is preferred by international patients for treatments such as kidney transplants and cardiac surgeries.

Aside from overseas patients, there are also significant numbers of medical tourists coming to Chennai from other parts of India. Some come following doctors orders, while others have simply heard about superior quality care that the city has to offer.

This surge in medical tourism has enabled companies to facilitate medical tourism to Chennai and other locations. Jose Manavalan, CEO of one such organization that operates in T.Nagar, says international patients choose Chennai for quality and cost-effective healthcare. “We have tied up with many hospitals. We take care of the selection of hospitals treatment, travel, accommodation and follow-up camps in their country. We also organize tours for them.”