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India – Healthcare

Indian Health care system is a dichotomy if there ever was one. From the finest hospital and medical care in the world, which attracts  patients from Africa, South Asia, Middle East, Europe and the United States as part of the medical tourism industry, not just because of quality but also because of cost advantages to government run hospitals operating at bare minimum costs servicing the large multitude of the Indian poor. There are some excellent private hospitals chains and specialist clinics in India like the Max Hospital, Apollo Hospitals and the Fortis Hospital which can provide facilities equal to western standards and are appropriate for Expatriate families.

Expats can easily  consult a doctor locally in India by scheduling an appointment. There are several doctors who are well known for their knowledge and skills and understand western needs.

Expats are recommended to take  standard vaccinations such as tetanus, MMR, polio, pertussis, diphtheria, and influenza before moving to India or while in India.  They can also consider additional immunizations for the following diseases, based on doctor’s advice: Hepatitis (both types), Typhoid fever, Pneumococci, Meningitis, Encephalitis, and Rabies.

Other threats include vector-borne diseases such as Malaria, Encephalitis, Dengue fever, and Chikungunya (another tropical fever), as well as gastrointestinal diseases caused by lack of proper hygiene. If a foreigner relocating to India takes reasonable precautions against mosquito bites and are careful when buying food and drinking water, these risks are avoidable.

Most generic drugs / medicines available in India would contain the same composition of the medicine as available back in the home country, but always recommended to carry own prescribed medication. Pharmacies and drug stores, known as Chemists are widely available and over the counter drugs are easily available. Similarly most international health insurances are acceptable in India in it’s leading private hospitals.

Ambulance services in India do not have a good response time and typically on average it could take approximately 20 – 40 minutes to reach anywhere within the large city limits.  It is said that Pizzas are delivered faster than an Ambulance in India, and hence advised to use own transport to reach a hospital or a doctor in case of an emergency.