Policy Change a Must for Viability of Medical Tourism

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In a broader sense, Nepalis currently spend billions of rupees on treatment abroad due to a lack of adequate health infrastructure. However, there is a high potential for medical tourism in Nepal. A sizable number of Indians come to Nepal to Tilganga for eye treatment for cataracts. Dr Sanduk Ruit, a world-famous cataract surgeon, has been treating high-spending Indian tourists visiting Nepal. They also attract a sizable Indian population for treatment in health facilities near the Terai region. Due to Nepal’s topography and temperature, a few Indian tourists visit places like Shivapuri and Nagarkot for post-treatment. Mostly, in hill areas where the temperature is moderate, a few tourists come for post-treatment. Some resorts in the hill areas do provide services for foreigners waiting for recovery. This is one of the potential avenues where Nepal can cash on its topography and weather conditions. Likewise, we have been receiving inquiries if we could provide maternity and child delivery services in Lumbini. Buddhists from around the world have enquired about it. A good maternity hospital can help Nepal tap that opportunity. Hilly areas have a high potential for recovery treatment, and Lumbini has a high potential for maternity care. Nepal can be a cure center for post-treatment and a maternity center for millions of Buddhists. We need to invest in our health care infrastructure.

Regarding the bottlenecks and hindrances, we need to uplift our medical care standards. Every year, many Nepali citizens spend billions of rupees for medical treatment abroad. First of all, we need to stop such a huge amount of money from going out of the country. The health care infrastructure is not good enough. We need investments.

Likewise, the cost of doing business is high, and so is the cost of land. So, the government needs to develop reforms and policies to provide land on lease. Big health infrastructure projects need big spaces, so the government should introduce policies to provide state properties on lease. Similarly, we don’t have a health insurance policy sufficiently. The majority of medical treatment for foreigners is covered by medical insurance. So, the health insurance policy needs to be made viable for all. Policy level change is needed for the viability of medical tourism as a tourism project.

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