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  1. Private Jet Charters Increase in the Covid Era

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    Private jet journeys came as an answer to those who needed to travel despite Covid-restrictions over the last 21 months. There are no absolute numbers of growth patterns and flights taken across the last two years of the pandemic, yet. But an initial survey by Knight Frank (which publishes an annual global wealth index) offers a picture of both intent to fly private and action. The survey shows that 43% of India’s ultra-wealthy travellers are more likely to consider private aviation as a permanent way to travel, over 15% who have already boarded that private jet.

    Ultra-wealthy respondents from the United Arab Emirates (75%), Russia (71%), Nigeria (69%), Spain (60%), Canada (60%) and South Africa (60%) said they are more likely to use private aviation even after the Covid threat abates.

    While in 2020, a few Indians had been taking the flight out to holiday in India, and abroad (wherever they were allowed, particularly to Dubai), tragically, the first time Indian private jet companies saw a surge in demand was during the big surge in Covid cases, and the healthcare crisis that followed, in April this year. “It was not just the rich. Anyone who could take a private jet out took one in April before the world blocked flights from India,” says Rajan Mehra, CEO, Club One Air, a private jet purveyor.

    Thankfully, as the crisis came under control, the second surge in jet journeys was observed sometime in September, when Indians flew, literally en masse, to the Maldives, the one country that welcomed Indian tourists with open arms. And with that, luxury hotels across Maldivian islands pulled out all stops for Indian luxury travellers.

    (Excerpted from ‘Private Jet Journeys Took Off During The Pandemic Months’ published on 01.01.22 at )

  2. New York Lifts Ban on Air Ambulance Blood Transfusions

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    New York was the last US state with a ban on aerial transfusions in the helicopters and planes that carry people in desperate need of care.

    Very sick or injured people are going to have a better chance of survival under the new law allowing blood transfusions in air ambulance services. 

    Sometimes air ambulance crew have only a limited range of techniques and medicines because they can’t give blood. That’s now changed.

    It will mean the air ambulances will require small changes, to put refrigerators or some other cooler on board to store blood and there will be protocols to cover transfusions.

    Dr. Kaori Tanaka, assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine at the University at Buffalo’s Jacobs Medical School and system medical director for Mercy Flight said: “Blood transfusions that would be started in the field would be best served for patients that we would categorize as in hemhorragic shock or having severe blood loss.”

    Perhaps a third or more of the patients in those air flights needed blood and were forced to wait until reaching a hospital. 

    “Allowing medical flight crews and EMS providers to transport and administer blood in an emergency could be the difference between life and death, especially for people living in rural areas far from a hospital.” said New York lawmaker Patrick Gallivan who co-sponsored the legislation to end the ban on air ambulance blood transfusions.

    (Excerpted from ‘NY Becomes the Last State to Allow Air Ambulance Blood Transfusions’  published on 29.12.21 at )

  3. Medical Value Travel In India: A New National Roadmap

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    The latest initiative by India’s Ministry of Tourism is the Draft National Strategy and Roadmap for Medical and Wellness Tourism. The National Strategy aims at formulating an institutional framework, developing a brand, and strengthening the ecosystem towards both, availability and quality assurance, centred around the following salient features:

    • Distinct roles defined for five ministries and NABH
    • State Governments to enhance the ground infrastructure and promote MVT proactively
    • Transparency in transactions by hospitals and healthcare facilities
    • Industry associations to create market outreach and promote Brand India
    • Allied sectors to boost accessibility by way of flights, accommodation

    There is a need for organising the sector by way of registration, accreditation and categorisation of MVT facilitators as well as Medical Service Providers. This would provide a mechanism for mutual coordination between only registered and accredited bodies to create a trustworthy ecosystem, eliminating undesirable elements. 

    The following steps are envisaged to achieve the required outcome:

    • Health insurance portability by way of extended insurance cover. It would be relevant to work towards inclusion of Indian Health Insurance companies in the global market. Alternatively, hospitals may be empanelled directly by international TPAs.
    • Developing Medical Enclaves for Foreign Patients. A medical complex with customised features, amenities and medical facilities may be created, with hospitals or healthcare companies gaining by way of concessional rates, duties, etc on infrastructure creation as well as consumables. The development of such hospi-towns may be explored in PPP mode.
    • Development of SWTX. Special Wellness Tourism Zones may be encouraged at state level offering comprehensive end-t-oend services for health, medical and wellness interventions, again developed on PPP model or with FDI.
    • Capacity Building. With the anticipated increase in inflow, groundwork for policy alignment, infrastructure development as well as skilling needs to be expedited in order to be future-ready.
    • Online MVT Portal. The existing portal needs a makeover with integration of all services a medical traveller would need, while also carrying advisories, regulations and information for transparency and ease.

    Amidst such escalating popularity and growing demand for MVT, the COVID-19 pandemic has put the spotlight back on healthy living, preventive medicines, nutrition, and immunity building. Knowing that the infection shows wide ranging symptoms and impacts various organ systems, its actual impact on the global population is yet to be assessed, with public health experts believing that it may have a significant effect on the long-term health of the affected population. 

    (Excerpted from ‘Medical value tourism in India: What makes the country a leading Medical Tourism Destination’ published on 27.09.21 at )

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