Dubai, UAE (April 2021): India’s Meitra Hospital in Calicut has announced a ground-breaking partnership with MGM Healthcare in Chennai to advance its reputed Centre of Excellence for Heart and Vascular Care by offering heart and lung transplants, mechanical circulatory support devices for failing hearts, and single lung retrieval and transplant.
The Liver Transplant Programme, under Meitra Hospital’s Centre of Excellence for Gastro Sciences, on the other hand, will deliver advanced liver transplant services through a multi-disciplinary transplantation team that comprises dedicated transplant surgeons, gastroenterologists, anaesthetists, intensivists, perfusionists, technicians, and nurses.
These programmes will be developed by an expert team, which holds the record for the highest number of heart and lung transplants in Asia. Dr KR Balakrishnan has performed more than 375 heart and lung transplants and is credited with performing many first-of-its-kind heart surgeries in India. Dr Thiagarajan Srinivasan has personal experience of more than 1,700 liver transplants and cumulative experience of more than 3,500 liver transplants.
Overall, India ranks third in the world after the US and China in the number of organs transplanted in 2019, according to WHO Global Observatory on Donation and Transplantation (GODT). The country also continues to be one of the most preferred destinations for Medical Value Tourism (MVT), occupying the sixth position among 46 major medical tourism destinations, as per the Medical Tourism Index’s overall ranking in 2021. Notably, a significant source of medical tourists come from the Middle East.
In 2018, only 13 liver, four heart and two lung transplants were performed in the UAE as per the WHO global observatory on donation and transplant. In addition, as of February 2018, there are only four licensed facilities for organ transplants in the UAE. Apart from the limited number of quaternary care facilities in the country and the whole GCC region, costs and waiting times play key roles in India’s emergence as a hub to service patients.
Using American health care costs as a benchmark, Patients Beyond Borders estimates that in India, the savings can start from 65% and go up to 90% with patients receiving high-quality care. “A heart transplant in the US can start from USD100,000 with a two-year waiting list for foreigners. In India, we have a three-month waiting window for foreigners and the cost for the same transplant can start from USD5,000. This is why a good percentage of my patients also come from the UAE and the Middle East region. Medical technology and treatment protocols have greatly evolved over the past few years. Ensuring that patients get the best that medical science has to offer through our partnership with Meitra Hospital is our primary goal,” said Dr KR Balakrishnan.
“This is a step towards fulfilling our vision for Meitra Care Network (MCN),” said Mr Faizal E. Kottikollon, Chairman of Meitra Hospital and Founder Chairman of KEF Holdings, a Dubai-based diversified investment conglomerate. MCN creates an ever-expanding healthcare eco-system, bringing patients and doctors, as well as primary, secondary, tertiary and critical care service providers, under one integrated system, connected through hard and soft infrastructure to offer the best healthcare services at an affordable price.
“Meitra Hospital, a 220-bed quaternary care provider is already a preferred centre for live and deceased donor renal transplants as well as bone marrow transplants in the region. Through this initiative, we seek to strengthen its position as a preferred international destination for multi-organ transplants. Specifically, for the GCC, we intend to address patients’ healthcare needs by partnering with the most reputed organizations in the region thus introducing tertiary and quaternary care at affordable prices,” he added.