Stem Cell Treatment in India: Why Arabs Are At An Advantage?

Medical Tourism DestinationsMedical Tourism Treatment
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  • 17 May, 2017

Stem cell transplant in India is a popular medical procedure for which hundreds of medical tourists, especially Arabs, visit the country each year. India has evolved to become one of the major medical tourism hubs in Asia. Especially, a considerable number of patients from Arab countries (Middle East countries) visit India for the sole purpose of getting world-class treatment at affordable costs.

Medical tourism in India has grown rapidly in the past two decades, especially after 2002 when the Indian government recognized the true potential in this sector. This is when several efforts were taken to promote the medical tourism industry in India and the hard work paid off in the form of sudden boom in this field in the years to follow.

Today, the medical tourism industry in India is worth billions of dollars and growing consistently at an immense rate. India has evolved to become the Mecca of the popular medical tourism destinations and receives an influx of thousands of medical tourists each year.

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For example, more than 55,000 patients from the Arab countries visited India in 2015 on a medical visa. On the other hand, more than 30,000 Arab nationals arrived in India in 2015 on medical attendants’ visa. The influx of patients from Iraq increased more than 10 times from 2014 to 2015. In the first quarter of 2016, more than 6,000 Iraqis had already visited India for treatment.

Patients from around the world travel to India for medical treatment because of several reasons. One of the major reasons is the affordable cost of medical treatment and the high quality of services. The best hospitals in India are equipped with world-class medical facilities, modern equipments and state-of-the-art technology.

Moreover, India is home to the top doctors in the world, including surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, cardiologists and other experts. They are some of the highly experienced professionals who hold great expertise in handling all kinds of medical emergencies and complications.

Hip and knee replacement, ophthalmology procedures, organ transplants and cardiac bypass surgery are some of the popular procedures for which a majority of patients come to India. Another popular procedure is stem cell or bone marrow transplantation.

Stem Cells Transplant in India

Bone marrow transplantation in India is a highly popular procedure among different category of patients. This procedure is conducted for the treatment of multiple myeloma, thalassemia and lymphoma.

In addition to adult stem cell transplant, pediatric bone marrow transplant is also conducted in India at an affordable cost. Stem cell transplant for thalassemia is a hugely demanded procedure in India, especially for the fact that in the absence of this treatment, the patient may end losing his or her life.

The top hospitals for bone marrow transplant in India are equipped with all the modern facilities and equipments to conduct the procedure. In addition, the entire procedure – from stem cell donation to transplant – is conducted and supervised by a highly experienced stem cell transplant specialist who holds a great expertise in conducting such procedure.

Who visits India for stem cell transplant?

The large majority of patients coming to India for stem cell transplant are from the Gulf countries, Africa, Bangladesh, Kenya, and Tanzania. Over the last few years, the word of mouth created by the highly satisfied medical tourists coming to India has outreached to different countries across the globe. As a result, patients from Western countries and continents, including the UK, Russia, Germany and Canada have started to approach India for medical treatment.

Stem Cell Transplantation Cost in India

There is a huge difference between the cost of stem cell transplant in India and the bone marrow transplant in the US, among other Western countries. The quality of medical services offered by the top hospitals in India is at par with any other Western country. In addition, the best Indian hospitals have collaborated with some of the highly experienced medical experts who use their knowledge to treat patients with around cent percent success.

Stem cell transplant in the US could cost as much as $223,000. However, the same procedure at the best hospitals could cost nothing more than $20,000 to $37,000.

The difference in cost is not just true for the US, but for other countries as well, including Germany, UK, the Gulf countries, Russia and Canada. On the other hand, there are certain African countries who do not have even a single hospital that offers quality stem cell transplant. As a result, they prefer to travel to India for affordable and high quality medical treatment.

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Why Patients from the Middle East are at an advantage?

There are several factors that put Arabs at an added advantage in comparison to other countries when it comes to seeking stem cell transplant in India. Some of these factors are discussed below:

Close proximity: A patient from any of the Arab world country can be easily transferred to India because of their close proximity to the Indian subcontinent, as compared to some of the other Western countries from where medical tourists come to India. This not only means that the time of traveling is less, but also indicates that the patient can be comfortably transferred back home after the procedure.

Accessibility: Most of the Arab countries are connected to India through direct flights which is one of the biggest advantages that most medical tourists seek while traveling to India. This not only ensures a hassle-free travel, but also helps make travel planning and time management easier.

Visa advantage: Patients and their family members coming from selected countries for a short duration can seek visa-on-arrival for 30 days, given that they are traveling for medical treatment. This completely eliminates the headache of getting a visa to travel to India.

Tourist visa: The government of India long back removed the restriction on tourist visas requiring at least two-month gap on consecutive visit to India. However, this has been done only for certain Gulf countries.

No language barrier: Most of the hospitals in India now have their in-house translators available for medical tourists coming from the Arab countries. These translators are available around the clock to help patients in communication clearly with the doctors and other hospital authorities.

Multi-cuisine restaurants: The best hospitals in India have an in-house multi-cuisine restaurant to take care of the nourishment needs of the medical tourists and the patients who accompany them. Since a huge majority of medical tourists coming to India are from Arab countries, separate canteens and cafeterias are maintained at hospitals to provide them the kind of food that they like to eat.

No waiting period: Almost every type of medical treatment, including stem cell transplant, can be availed almost readily in India. Therefore, a medical tourist traveling to India do not need to wait at all to seek medical treatment. This is opposite to what happens in other countries, where a patient has to wait for weeks or months before he or she is able to finally seek treatment.

Adjustability and Cultural Links: It is believed that Arab patients find it easier to adjust in the Indian environment because of the cultural and civilization linkages, as compared to the Western countries. India and Arab world countries have many things in common, in terms of cultural heritage, food, religion, clothing, and history.


Over the last few decades, India has emerged as one of the top medical tourism destinations, especially in the field of stem cell transplant. Patients from Arab world countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordon, Lebanon, Oman, Somalia and UAE are at an advantage because of the special facilities and arrangements that they get to enjoy by traveling to India.

Close proximity, visa-on-arrival, and other facilities such as money exchanger, translator and pre-booked lodging arrangement are some of the facilities that an Arab traveling to India for stem cell transplant can be rest assured of.

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