‘Public-Private Tie-up will Help Promote MVT in Kerala’
Kochi: In the recently-held Kerala Health Tourism (KHT) 2019 conference, Dr. Harish Pillai, Chief Executive Officer – Aster Hospitals & Clinics India, said the State Government and stakeholders in the health and tourism sectors should come together to boost the enormous possibilities of Medical Value Travel (MVT) in Kerala. Speaking to Destination Kerala on the sidelines of the event, this eminent administrator and doctor spoke in detail about the ways to galvanize the MVT segment in Kerala. Here are the excerpts from the conversation.
The visionary CEO unveils an interesting 'to-do list' to make Kerala the most preferred destination for medical tourists from across the globe
“One of the greatest responsibilities of the State Government is to create jobs. Any sector which is going to create jobs and attract investments should be encouraged. Healthcare, especially MVT is an area which is closely allied with tourism and travel, creating a lot a synergies and commonalities between the two. If we put in at least 20 per cent of the effort the government and tourism stakeholders had taken to promote tourism, MVT would soon emerge as a game-changer for Kerala,” Dr. Pillai said.
With the commissioning of another international airport in Kannur, Kerala has secured the unique achievement of having four international airports within a State. Dr. Pillai opined that it was high time we made use of this unique achievement, not just leaving it as yet another feather in the cap of Kerala. The four international airports, according to him, add up to form “a key USP in comparison to any other State in the country.” The need of the hour is to get the demands for increased air connectivity to all four airports in Kerala met, with many MNCs like the Nissan Motor Corporation finding the State an ideal place to make major investments, he said.
“We still don’t have excellent air connectivity with many global destinations. Of course, West Asia is well connected to Kerala, but in the case of South East Asia it is not so. We need to figure out how to set up point-to-point connectivity,” he said.
Referring to what he feels should be the immediate priorities of the State Government in the health sector, he underscored the potential of Kerala to become the first State in India to achieve total NABH accreditation. “We should have a vision to secure NABH accreditation for all hospitals in the State,” said Dr. Pillai. According to him, the feat can be achieved through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model. “Many of us from the private sector are willing to cooperate with the State Government in all possible ways to help achieve this goal of total accreditation,” he added.
Ensuring availability of certified language translators in Kerala, who can help medical value tourists coming from Maldives, the GCC, Africa and China, should be another urgent priority, according to Dr. Pillai. “Kerala Government has initiated skill development programmes. We should have sufficient number of people connected to the healthcare sector who possess language skills. Many Gulf returnees in the State can speak Arabic. But they are not familiar with medical terminologies. So we can think of launching a Government -certified programme under which such people are made familiar with the jargons in the medical and wellness fields so that their services can be utilised by the MVT segment. In addition to Arabic, we should also be focussing on Mandarin, Dhivehi, the Maldivian language; Swahili and Bangla,” he said.
The doctor also highlighted the importance of having green channel immigration facilities for medical tourists at the airports in Kerala.
“If the airports in Kerala have green channels, medical value travellers can do without waiting in the queue. Putting in place such a special immigration facility will help promote MVT in Kerala to a great extent,” he said. He urged all stakeholders in the State’s tourism industry to make concerted efforts to persuade the Government to take necessary action to make this happen. If all stakeholders come together, we can transform these recommendations into reality, a confident Dr. Harish Pillai summed up.
Dr. Harish Pillai, CEO - Aster Hospitals & Clinics india