Health Services Trade between India and Pakistan

Health Services Trade between India and Pakistan

Publication details

  • Sunday | 20 May, 2018
  • Vaqar Ahmed, Shehryar Khan Toru, Rabia Manzoor
  • Contributed Chapter Series
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Rabia Manzoor , Dr. Shehryar Khan Toru and Dr. Vaqar Ahmed


Recently, health tourism has gained a lot of importance in South Asia as numerous people

across the world acquire medical care in countries such as Pakistan and India. Health tourism is

defined as patients and public traveling abroad for seeking quality and affordable medical

treatment which is often not available in their home country. Literature on health tourism engages

with different dimensions of health trade such as, cross-border movement of people but hardly

reflect on the nature of obstacles people face in obtaining health care. By focusing on health

tourism, this study explores key challenges and potential benefits of health trade between India

and Pakistan. The study considers the perception and opinion of doctors, private sector

organizations, state officials, businessmen and traders in Pakistan as primary sources of knowing

the bottlenecks in undertaking and promoting cross-border trade in health sector. The patients in

Pakistan seeking medical treatment in India encounter; informational, financial and visa related

problems. These patients heavily rely on informal channels in acquiring visa which leads to

frustration, delays and financial obligations of uncertain nature. The prevailing inhospitable and

security situation also discourages movement of doctors and patients across the border. The study

also notes that variants of health sector trade between the two countries have also not received

adequate attention in policy circles.