Hyderabad: As the entire country celebrates World Health Day aimed at eliminating health inequities on Wednesday, Hyderabad, and the districts of Telangana find themselves in a unique position of having witnessed a massive growth in medical infrastructure making quality healthcare accessible to patients both in the private and public healthcare sector.
Within a few years of the State’s formation, Hyderabad quickly emerged as the country’s healthcare capital and has provided an alternative choice for medical tourism, which usually is a yardstick to measure the quality of healthcare services, when compared to metro cities like New Delhi and Mumbai.
Estimates suggest that way back in 2009-10, the projected revenue from medical tourism was close to Rs 3 crore in Hyderabad which now hovers between Rs 15 crore and Rs 18 crore yearly. While the last year has been dominated by the Covid pandemic, the fact remains that top private healthcare institutions in Hyderabad attract a lot of patients from neighbouring States like Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Karnataka apart from patients from Africa and South East Asia.
To further cement their position, the corporate hospitals and laboratories in Hyderabad went ahead and upgraded their facilities to acquire certification from the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) and National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration of Laboratories (NABL). Eventually, the NABL certification to private laboratories in Hyderabad came in handy, as the certification became mandatory to be eligible to conduct RT-PCR tests for Covid-19 diagnosis.
Apart from Hyderabad, over the years, other major urban centres including Warangal, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Medchal-Malkajgiri, and Rangareddy districts also saw massive investments in public and private healthcare services. While the State government focussed on establishing teaching hospitals in the districts, the private healthcare establishments kept adding satellite branches in districts, which eventually became referral centres for their tertiary care facilities in Hyderabad.
While the private healthcare sector has invested resources to improve medical infrastructure, the Telangana government on its part also has spent nearly Rs 700 crore to procure new diagnostic medical equipment, develop non-clinical infrastructure at government hospitals, and sustaining its showpiece initiative of direct cash benefit scheme for pregnant women through KCR Kits.
On the other hand, backed by venture capital funding, private healthcare establishments have invested heavily in new and emerging areas of Hyderabad, especially on the outskirts such as Gachibowli, Nanakramguda, Madhapur, Kondapur, etc. The thriving ITES sector in these parts of Hyderabad and the ever-increasing influx of families from other parts of the country has fuelled the demand and forced corporate hospitals to expand and set up new facilities. According to estimates, in the next few years, corporate hospitals are expected to invest more than Rs 5,000 crore towards developing their clinical and diagnostic facilities in the famed IT belt of Hyderabad.
Apart from private clinical services, the State government’s efforts to push medical device manufacturing by setting up the country’s largest medical devices park at Sultanpur has cemented Hyderabad’s place as the best urban centre that offers the overall ecosystem for the healthcare industry.
Already, top medical device manufacturing companies in the world including Medtronic, which is investing nearly Rs 1,200 crore to develop its R&D in Hyderabad, Sahajanand Medical Technologies (SMT), Asia’s largest stent manufacturers, and a number of healthcare start-ups have started investing in the medical devices park. The Covid pandemic also made Hyderabad into a hub for vaccine manufacturing with pharma companies acquiring a total capacity to produce more than 2 billion doses of vaccines every year.