Technology has emerged as a lifesaving tool for outbound patients in Bangladesh as local insurance-affiliated agency provided air-ambulance service to Malaysia, one of the dependable territory for world-class health care.
In the age of the social media, Bangladeshi Healthcare Management Company - GD Assist, introduced social media based communication with potential clients/patients to avail the air-ambulance service as well as to connect them to the internationally reputed hospitals and physicians in Malaysia round-the-clock.
The medical-tourism world was almost at a stagnant situation with a global lockdown in effect. That’s where GD Assist played its role as the one stop medical tourism solution provider by sending such patients to their desired healthcare destination like Malaysia.
Since the corona pandemic emerged in Bangladesh, Bangladesh Govt. closed border with its neighboring countries and all international flights were shut down. During the lockdown period, in first quarter of 2020, GD Assist has conducted significant numbers of emergency medical evacuations to Malaysia through air-ambulance service with the help of Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC).
In addition, GD Assist also conducted emergency evacuation of around 1000 stranded people to and from 6 countries and 3 continents of the world during the global lockdown in 2020. Few challenges that surfaced during conducting such mass emergency evacuations were limited supply of aircraft during lockdown, timely clearance from govt. agencies, longer processing time regarding legal permissions & necessary documentations and limited scope of operation from Bangladesh.
However, GD Assist made the best out of the situation and helped more than 1000 stranded people to reach their desired destination.
Regarding the services, GD Assist’s Managing Director Syed Moinuddin Ahmed said the digital communication platforms help the patientsto reach us faster and much easily, therefore makes it easy for them to avail the air ambulance service from GD Assist to reach Malaysia - the emerging territory to avail world-class healthcare treatment.
Besides the consultation, transporting patients in critical situations through air ambulance is also another fresh idea which is catching up in Bangladesh amid pandemic situation.
Without any doubt, air ambulance service is a great help tocritical patients for getting emergency medical care or assistance as well asto doctors who have to attend emergency cases.
Malaysia has a two-tier healthcare system - public (universal care) and private. Access to quality healthcare is the central theme of the 2020 national budget. The healthcare expenditures are expected to double to 28 billion US dollar in the country by 2028.
Following the Malaysian government's recognition of medical tourism as a growth sector in 1998, substantial investments from government and private sector have been channeled into its creation over last one and half decades. In the post-pandemic era, the Malaysian healthcare system upgraded the medical tools including telemedicine, a better patient monitoring and tracking system, and electronic medical records with functional hospital information systems.
Global healthcare tourism market is steadily maturing, reflected in the growing number of patients travelling overseas for medical treatment. Credible industry reports estimate that the global medical tourism market was worth about 20 billion US dollar in 2016 and is projected to record a sharp compounded annual growth rate of 18.8% to reach a size of over 47 billion US dollar by end of 2021.
Malaysia scooped up the number one spot in the International Medical Travel Journal’s award for ‘Health and Medical Tourism Destination’ title consecutively in 2015 and 2016. The nation ranks among one of the best providers of healthcare in all of Southeast Asia. Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) is a government agency that has been entrusted with responsibility of leading country's healthcare tourism scene.
While the healthcare travel industry is private sector-driven, the Government of Malaysia assumed an active role to facilitate its growth. MHTC was founded in 2009 to facilitate and grow Malaysia’s healthcare travel industry under a ‘Malaysia Healthcare’ brand and make it the leading global healthcare destination by 2020.
MHTC has worked to streamline industry players and service providers into a more focused development strategy to raise Malaysia’s profile in healthcare travel on an international stage.
GD Assist, a subsidiary of Green Delta Insurance Company Ltd., acts as the authorised representative of MHTC in Bangladesh. It’s worth mentioning that MHTC is an extension of Ministry of Health Malaysia, which aims to provide one-stop solution for patient seeking medical attention for emergency or routine health checkup. GD Assist provides different value added services in the healthcare and tourism sectors, such as, setting doctor appointments at the best hospitals, logistics support, global emergency medical evacuation, visa assistance, air ticket, hotel and accommodation, ground transportation etc.
The latest additions to its service portfolio amid corona pandemic are facilitating access to tele-video consultancy, home sample blood collection, home ECG and X-ray services, ground ambulance, medical equipment, medicine delivery, corona infection test, oxygen cylinder, nanny and caregiver services. These services were introduced to ensure that every individual should get the healthcare services at their door step.
Global trend indicates that future healthcare system will be supported and strengthened by telemedicine, which the provision of healthcare services using telecommunications, information and multimedia technologies, according to the Telemedicine Blueprint.
In future, information and other services will become more virtual, more distributed and more integrated, resulting in better, more timely and more efficient healthcare delivery.
The beauty of telemedicine is that it links people and delivers services by utilising multimedia applications, tools, technologies and networks. There are many healthcare start-ups have been founded in Malaysia like Naluri, HypoBand and BookDoc which helps patients in developing economies to connect to the specialized physicians in Malaysia.
As a preferred healthcare travel destination, Malaysia offers high value to Bangladeshi health travelers. In addition to the high quality of healthcare services delivered, Malaysia’s standing as a leading global halal hub, coupled with our similarities in food, culture and religion ensures health travelers’ comfort and peace of mind in seeking healthcare treatment in Malaysia.
Healthcare travelers are also offered Malaysia Healthcare Meet-and-Greet Service, which welcomes healthcare travelers at the aerobridge, assists them through immigration, baggage claim, and hosts them at a dedicated lounge.
GD Assist, being the pioneering healthcare tourism management company and authorized representative of MHTC in Bangladesh, makes accessing all these services, facilities and end-to-end healthcare tourism managementfor the patients and ensures that their treatment and travel experience is smooth and blissful.
Jannatul Islam, widely known as Rahad, is a Staff Correspondent at the Daily Sun. He can be reached over email at [email protected], rahad.net on web