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Immense potential for medical tourism in Pakistan

medical tourism1 Immense potential for medical tourism in Pakistan Haji Fazl Kadir Khan Sherani, the President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has pointed out the immense potential for medical tourism in Pakistan which is being highlighted by the apex body of trade and industry of Pakistan for the promotion of this industry. He said this while chairing a roundtable discussion on ‘’Medical Tourism’’ which was held in the FPCCI Head Office. Begum Salma Ahmed, Vice President FPCCI was also present on the occasion, along with stakeholders from segments including leading hospitals/teaching universities, Tours Operators, Hotel Association, Insurance Companies, social work bodies and PIA.

Mr. Siddique Sheikh, Advisor on CSR at FPCCI welcomed the participants. Mr. Salman Javed Chairman ECO CCI Tourism Council (Pakistan Chapter) informed the house that the meeting was being held as a follow-up to the 3rd Conference on Health Tourism in Islamic Countries which was held in December 2012, in Mashhad, Iran. A delegation from FPCCI comprising of Mr. Salman Javed, Dr. Abdul Bari Khan, Dr. Tahir Sheikh and Mr. Siddique Sheikh had attended the conference.

Mr. Zahid Hamid, a leading Medical Tourism Facilitator based at London addressed the conference through video link from London and informed the house that he has been sending medical tourists from UK to Pakistan since 2006, and, Pakistan has the potential to attract this segment. He made various suggestions, including improving the conversational English of the paramedical staff, and utilizing for this purpose the idle capacity of Medical Institutions of the Armed Forces.

Participants identified the core areas where Pakistan can promote Medical Tourism such as Dental care, Cardiac surgery, Kidney ailments and treatment, Optical Care, Fertility Treatment and Cosmetic Surgery. Furthermore participants opined that Pakistan is able to offer a range of treatments for a fraction of the cost of treatments abroad, for heart surgery, liposuction and fertility treatment. The participants noted that though law and order situation was a deterrent, yet the fact that operation costs are lower in Pakistan than India, and nearly one-fifteenth of the rates in west, therefore the medical tourism industry, which is at a nascent stage in Pakistan, can be promoted if awareness is created about the demand and supply position of the industry and marketing of our product is improved. Participants expressed the hope that even though these are the main issues, yet we will soon be able to overcome them with hard work and resolve.

It was decided that a country case of the medical tourism products of Pakistan will be prepared by the R&D Department of FPCCI, based upon which a core group will be formed to promote medical tourism in Pakistan. The participants also requested the teaching hospitals/tour operators/ hoteliers to hold seminars on the importance of Medical Tourism.

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