'India stands for quality health care and not cheap one'

Written by: Biswajeet Panda
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Dr Ramakant Panda
Mumbai, April 21: US President Barack Obama's recent statement asking his countrymen and women not to go to India for cheap healthcare has ruffled quite a few feathers and one of them is Dr Ramakant Panda, arguably one of the best cardiologists in India at the moment.

Dr Panda, who operated upon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a couple of years of back is also the CEO of the Asian Heart Institute.

It can be recollected that in a bid to rein in the ever-increasing deficits in US economy, Obama on April 20, described healthcare as the most important pillars of the social safety net and said, "my preference would be that you (US Citizens) do not have to travel to Mexico or India to get cheap health care."

Taking exception to Obama's remarks Dr Ramakant Panda was quoted by the PTI as saying, "Our doctors, in various fields, compete with the best in the world and India as a country today represents high quality health care and not cheap health care."

"The number of patients coming in from US to India is less than five per cent. While there is potential for US patients to come to India, we do not foresee a reduction in actual numbers with this initiative from President Obama" he added.

He went on to say, "As on today, the Middle East and Africa constitute a bulk of the patients who travel to India for medical tourism...It is always easier to divide the dollar and arrive at the rupee value of a medical procedure. That is very basic arithmetic. However, the notion that India delivers cheap health care is not to be encouraged."

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