Halal Certification for Halal Freindly Medical Tourism
Travel to another country for medical treatment purposes is referred to as medical tourism, and in a broader sense, spa treatments and yoga retreats are covered under health tourism. According to the study of Frost & Sullivan, the global medical tourism market was ranging between $50 billion to $65 billion in 2016 and is continuously growing at a rate of an estimated yearly twenty percent.
The worldwide awareness about halal benefits and certifications has brought the gradual emergence and development of Halal branded hospitals and medical facilities as a new boon in the tourism industry, the halal tourism. It is mainly facilitates Muslim patients to provide all sorts of medical attention that abide by strict Islamic law. The prime objective of such tourism is to attract Muslim tourists seeking medical assistance. Global Health City Chennai in India has the first Halal-certified medical hospital.
One of India’s leading halal certifiers, Halal India, has mentioned that seventy-five percent of the country’s medical tourists are from Islamic countries. Medical tourists are provided with halal services that include medicine of non-alcoholic and non-Islam forbidden compositions. The patients are served halal foods during the period of treatment. The first halal-certified Chennai hospital accommodates the needs of Muslim patients by providing numerous halal-friendly services. Apart from halal food, there are special arrangements of a dedicated prayer hall, indication for the direction of sacred building Mecca for the patients. Moreover, the hospital has Arabic speaking staffs for convenience of their native patients and also has the facility of televisions broadcasting Arabic channels. The hospital takes extra respect and caution to protect the privacy of female patients.
India's skilled medical professionals are highly acclaimed all over the world, and along with that, the cost-effective best medical infrastructure places the country as one of the most desired global destinations for foreign medical tourists. Besides the economic factor, the international standard public and private hospitals in India, such as Apollo, Fortis, Wockhardt, AIIMS, and Lilavati, are equipped with modern state of the art health infrastructure. The years-old traditional form of treatments like homeopathy, ayurvedic, yoga, and Unani are also quite popular and widely practiced in India. There is a regular flow of foreign tourists in India on the medical ground due to these multi facilities, and the data shows a steep graph for the number of visitors day by day. Treatment for the cardiac ailment is the most preferred among foreign patients visiting India, followed by orthopedics, nephrology, neurosurgery, and cancer.
The statistics indicate that Muslims give preference to Islam friendly hospitals for treatment and logistics both as to a matter of consideration. India is a preferred country for Muslim medical tourists, and the maximum number of patients visiting is from Bangladesh. A large number of medical tourists from Afghanistan, Iraq, Oman, Pakistan, and some other Islamic countries also prefer India for medical treatment. Reasonable treatment expenditure is the prime reason that makes India a desirable place for people from these countries, while the wealthier Muslims of Saudi Arabia and UAE head towards the USA, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand for more technological advancement. However, some of the high profile patients like the king of the State of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, childbirth of former president of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai and the world heaviest women Eman Ahmed from Egypt were treated in different hospitals in India.
The government of India has initiated some promotional steps in favor of medical tourism in the country. The most crucial support from the government under the Marketing Development Assistance (MDA) scheme to medical tourism service providers and medical tourism facilitators comes as the financial aid for the promotion of medical tourism in overseas markets and an introduction of ‘Medical Visa’ and ‘Medical Attendant Visa’ for foreign tourists coming to India for medical treatment. There is a high potential for medical tourism in India to attain the growing halal market with some vital government strategies and schemes.
Malaysia is another most sought after destination for Muslim patients. It was always a desirable place to visit for its sea beaches and malls, but recently Malaysia has emerged as one of the popular globally acclaimed medical tourism stations. Over five years, the country receives foreign tourists seeking medical assistance for more than doubled to 770,134 in 2013. According to a lifestyle magazine, International Living, Malaysia is the best and most affordable healthcare place. Halal medical tourism is increasing day by day and holds a significant market share all over the world.
Requirenments of Halal Certification
As most of the countries now want to cater to the customers in the gulf countries, they must have a halal certificate for their product as it is mandatory for these countries. The requirements for Halal certification includes the following.
- a) The raw materials used for manufacturing of the products must meet the halal guidelines.
- b) The manufacturing practice that is being used for the manufacturing of the products must have approval from the sharia or Islamic law as well as the Halal guidelines.
Once these requirements are met, the company can apply for the certification. The certifying authorities can plan a visit to verify the compliance with the halal guidelines. After the compliance is verified, the company is granted a halal certificate and the company becomes eligible to sell their products in a market that has halal certification mandatory.
What does it mean when food is Halal Certified?
When a food product has halal certification, it ensures the customers that it has been manufacturing keeping all the good manufacturing practices in mind and also it is permissible to consume it under Islamic law. The halal certification ensures that the quality of the food is best and the raw materials used for the manufacturing of the products are permitted under the sharia or Islamic law. It also means that the governments of Gulf countries have no objection if the product is imported in these countries as it has followed the halal guidelines during manufacturers.