Wednesday 25 April 2018 ,
Wednesday 25 April 2018 ,
Latest News
  • President Hamid begins second term in office; takes oath
  • AL doesn't expect foreign interference in JS polls: Quader
  • Dangers remain in crowded Rohingya camps ahead of monsoon
  • ASK calls for specific promises to stop border killing
  • Ex NSI DG held in war crimes case
17 May, 2017 12:12:16 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 19 May, 2017 06:11:42 PM

Bangladesh yet to make a breakthrough in the health sector

Prof. Sarwar Md. Saifullah Khaled
Bangladesh yet to make a breakthrough in the health sector

More than 1, 65,000 of the 4, 60,000 inbound patients to Indian hospitals were from Bangladesh in 2015-2016 making Bangladesh the largest foreign user of India's health services. In 2015-2016 over 58,000 medical visas were issued to Bangladeshi nationals to have medical services in India. Indian media Business Standard reported quoting a recent report by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics that these Bangladeshi health service seekers bought US $0.34 billion worth of Indian health services. Bangladesh has unseated the US as the origin of the highest number of foreign tourists since 2016, mostly due to medical tourism.
A rail link between Kolkata and Khulna in Bangladesh and a new bus service between Dhaka and Kolkata were inaugurated earlier in the month of April 2017 during Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to New Delhi. Medical tourism from nations with higher average health costs or poor infrastructure stood at US $620 million in 2016-2017, more than US $890 million in the last financial year 2015-2016. The highest number of medical visas was allowed to 29,400 of Afghanistan after Bangladesh, followed by 9,139 of Iraq and 5,994 of Nigeria. The highest average spending was by Pakistan. Each patient spent about US $2,906. A total of 1,921 Pakistani nationals were issued medical visas, a mere 1.35 per cent of all incoming patients.
India's services exports rose from US $52 billion in 2005 to US $155 billion in 2015, with a share of 3.3 per cent in global services exports. India’s services exports stood at US $146.5 billion in the first 11 months of 2016-2017. A new pecking order has emerged for foreign tourist arrivals in India. The US, the traditional top source for arrivals, has lost the spot it held for years to Bangladesh. India's neighbour Bangladesh has for the first time become the biggest source market for foreign tourists coming to the country. Data from ministry of tourism showed that up 21 per cent over the number in 2015, 1.37 million visitors came to India from Bangladesh in 2016. The 21 per cent growth was much higher than the increase of 8.2 and 10.4 per cent seen in arrivals from the US and UK, respectively.
For foreign tourists, the UK is the third-largest source market. The rise of Bangladesh in the Indian travel market has been quite rapid. The number has now grown almost threefold from a mere 0.48 million visitors in 2012. Bangladesh now accounts for 15.47 per cent of the total 8.89 million foreign tourists who visited India in 2016. The US and UK accounted for 14.74 and 9.51 per cent, respectively. Quality medical and health-care facilities compared to Bangladesh available in India are one of the reasons for the growing number of tourists from Bangladesh. Trade and business are another factor. Government data show that of the 134,344 medical visas issued by India in 2015, half went to citizens from Bangladesh. The number of medical visas increased to almost 97,000 during the first half of 2016.
An earlier report by Netherlands’ Amstelveen based KPMG said the highest number of medical tourists in India come from Bangladesh – more than a fifth – because of the lack of "quality health-care infrastructure and unavailability of skilled manpower" in the neighbouring Bangladesh. Foreign tourists – all nationalities – are estimated to have brought foreign exchange earnings of US $23 billion in 2016 i.e. 9.8 per cent higher than in 2015. India dominates bilateral trade of US $6.76 billion, but imports from Bangladesh are rising. Even though bilateral trade slipped more than four per cent to US $6.76 billion in 2015-2016, imports from Bangladesh to India grew 17 per cent to US $727 million. Apparel, textile fibre, fruit and fish are top import items from the neighbouring Bangladesh. A large number of visitors from Bangladesh come to India by the bus that connects Dhaka to Kolkata.
In the year 2016, Haridaspur, a check-post in Paschimbangla, as a result, ranked third or fourth among the top ports of entry into India from Bangladesh for most of the months.  The number of Bangladeshi people travelled to India jumped by 21.3 per cent in the last calendar year 2016 over the previous year 2015. The latest statistic of the Indian tourism ministry showed in the month of December 2016, some 0.13 million (1, 30,000) Bangladeshi tourists visited India, which was 99 thousand in November, 2016. Though due to demonetisation effect, India-bound tourists from Bangladesh declined sharply in the month of November 2016 to 99 thousands from 0.12 million (1, 20,000) in October 2016, the lasted figure showed that it significantly bounced back in December 2016.
Thus, total number of Bangladeshi tourists stood at 1.36 million in the last year 2016. It was also around 15.3 per cent of the total foreign tourist arrival in India. According to the official Indian statistics, some 8.90 million foreign tourists visited the country in 2016. Total number of tourists visited India from Bangladesh was 1.12 million in 2015, which was around 14.65 per cent of the total foreign tourist arrival in India that year. India's relaxed visa regime attracted huge number of Bangladeshis to make a trip to their next door neighbour India. Around 35 to 40 per cent of Bangladeshi tourists, however, visit India for the medical purpose. It is a matter of regret and disappointment that Bangladesh after 47 years of independence is yet to provide its nationals with low cost quality medical treatment facilities so that their helpless flow to India may be stopped. It sounds unfortunate indeed.
However, collective efforts including proper planning, active and responsive participation of civil society towards ensuring transparency and accountability is needed to ensure efficiency in the country’s health sector. Time-fitting planning, adequate funding and quality and equity based health care can be the vital means of achieving target four of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Moreover, cherished development of the nation is not possible by keeping the sector neglected or lagging behind. We have no way but improve the general health care system and budgetary allocation needs to be enhanced for the sector. It is necessary for making the medical sector as the thrust sector like the education one. Time-befitting measures should be taken so that physicians can play vital role towards quality health care services.
It is highly recommended to train up quality physicians to give quality health services. The need for training and appointing eligible teachers and physicians in the medical education institutions and hospitals respectively is necessary by freeing the recruitment process from all sorts of politicization and other anomalies. It is hoped that thereby the enormous flow of medical patients and consequent foreign exchange from the country to foreign countries to buy medical services may be avoided.    

The writer is a retired Professor of Economics, BCS General
Education Cadre



Today's Question »
AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader said the party does not expect any foreign interference in national polls as people are its source of strength. Do you agree?
 No Comment
Yes 32.0%
No 64.0%
No Comment 4.0%
More Opinion Stories
Savar tannery wastes now polluting Dhaleshwari river The tannery industry of the country still seems to be an unavoidable nuisance that kills the rivers it is placed beside. Though the tanneries are very important as contributor to the country’s economic development in the form…

Copyright © All right reserved.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Disclaimer & Privacy Policy
About Us
Contact Us

Powered by : Frog Hosting