India: A medical destination for Pakistanis
If all goes well, Pakistan will soon have a New Year’s gift from India. Karachi-based Engrow Fertilisers plans to launch a hospital in the city, which will have tele-medicine links with Narayana Hrudayalaya in Bangalore.
“The Karachi hospital should be ready early next year. We have tried the tele-medicine connection and it works well. Initially, there was concern about communication links between the two countries, but the problem is being sorted out,” says T.S. Vasuki, GM, Narayana Hrudayalaya.
Once this project kicks off, patients in Pakistan with the help of local doctors would be able to videoconference with Dr. Devi Shetty of Narayana Hrudayalaya.
“A number of patients have been coming to India from Pakistan. The tele-medicine facility will make us reach out to many more. Doctors in Pakistan will carry out the preliminary investigation. After going through their reports, Dr Shetty would give his opinion. If required, the patient will have to come here,” says Vasuki.
Narayana Hrudayalaya treated 150 Pakistani children suffering from heart disease last year.
“We get at least three children from Pakistan every week. They come to India because of high quality, yet cheap, healthcare facility. Pakistan has good hospitals, but when it comes to complex pediatric problems, we have the facilities,” says Dr. Shetty.
More than political initiatives, healthcare is fostering peace between the two countries.
Gangaram hospital, which has a branch in Lahore, admitted 200 Pakistani patients last year.
A lot of Pakistanis also came here for second opinion, apart from those coming here for surgery. Fifty-two Pakistani patients came to Apollo this year for treatment related to cancer, and neurological, liver and pediatric ailments.
If anything, India’s doctors are taking the lead in building confidence across the border.