The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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In focus, a wealth of health
- Three-day initiative to showcase state’s medicare potential

The West Bengal government is all set to project Calcutta as a major business hub in the health sector, in collaboration with the Bengal Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI).

Together with the BCCI, the government will organise a three-day show on health and wellbeing, the first of its kind in the city, starting November 7.

The fair, according to BCCI president Sumit Majumdar, is meant to showcase Calcutta’s potential in health services in the eastern and north-eastern regions of the country, as well as in the neighbouring countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan Nepal, Myanmar and Thailand.

“Of late, Calcutta has seen a lot of hospitals and medical centres of international quality coming up to provide health services at competitive prices. It is now the time to showcase this potential,” says Majumdar.

The Calcutta fair is the first step towards this “mission” and the chamber will promote it in the eastern and north-eastern regions, as well as in the neighbouring countries, over the next year. Majumdar said the government was very upbeat about the success of this new business initiative and has already made a commitment to provide “all kinds of cooperation.”

“The health and wellbeing show is slated to be one of the finest congregations of medical professionals, technologists, medical equipment suppliers, pharma majors, health administrators, financiers and entrepreneurs,” says Majumdar, adding: “This would be the meeting ground for the health industry policy-makers, professionals and consumers.”

According to laparoscopic surgeon B. Ramana, this initiative will boost business potential for the health sector in the city. “A large number of patients from neighbouring countries are now going down South for treatment, although they can avail of the same treatment, if not better, in Calcutta itself, at a much cheaper rate. Advanced surgeries, both general and cardiac, are at least 25-40 per cent cheaper in Calcutta than any other metros, although the quality of treatment is very good.

“The only thing the state lacks is proper marketing of the facilities in order to convince consumers,” he said.

According to Writers’ Buildings sources, the government is also keen on inviting doctors, who were originally from this state and have now made a name for themselves in the global arena.

“Like the software technologies, the health services can also become another major area where this state can excel. The state government, along with the medical professionals and chambers of commerce, will evolve a holistic approach to reach out to the consumers,” they said.

The state is also stressing the need for championing health tourism in a bigger way. It is inviting the participation of the industries like hotels, road transport and airlines, besides spas and hospitals.

BCCI is preparing a roadmap for this new initiative. It will be discussed shortly at the government level, the sources said.

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