Go to any metro or emerging metro in India. You will see numerous super specialty hospitals apart from the hundreds of other health centres and clinics. This indicates the development in the healthcare infrastructure and medical treatment facility in the country and no wonder, medical tourism emerged as a new trend to attract the hundreds of foreigners trying to avail medical facilities from third world countries.
In spite of the boom in medical tourism, there are some disturbing factors related the healthcare system in India, which were brought out by a report of National Family Health Survey. India has a privatised healthcare system, apart from that in the public sector. According to the report, about 70 percent of the population depends on this private sector for their healthcare activities. Most of them do not have an insurance coverage and the treatment availed from private sector, often creates a financial burden on the families of the patients. The survey also revealed that many do not go for treatments because they cannot bear the expenses.
Such a scenario highlights the importance of Ayurveda, the traditional therapeutic system of India, which is much cheaper compared to the `mainstream’ allopathic healthcare system. The number of people going for Ayurvedic treatment increased in some states such as Kerala and some researchers connect it with the unaffordable medical treatment provided by the mainstream healthcare system. Ayurvedic practitioners, hospitals and resorts offer affordable Ayurvedic treatment. This does not mean that all of them provide treatment at a cheap rate. There are some ayurveda resorts keralacatering to the demands of the upper class residents/tourists and providing Ayurvedic therapies at a higher cost.