Public hospitals are widely available in India, with some limitations in areas far from big cities. Only use their services in case of benign diseases. Routine medical care will be done at public hospitals, but you should go to private clinics in large cities to treat serious diseases.
If you have to stay in a hospital for several days make sure to bring supplies such as drinks, food, bed linen, clothing etc. Ask a friend to check if you need anything once or twice a week.
There are some public hospitals in rural areas that you should avoid completely. Their hygienic conditions are questionable and they only have outdated medical equipment.
Private clinics inIndia are a good alternative to public hospitals. They charge far more for treatment, but are still cheaper than clinics in western countries. The personnel in private hospitals are well educated and are usually able to speak English. The quality of medical equipment in private hospitals is very high and reaches western standards.
Most general practitioners in India do not have private surgeries but are located in medical centers. Only in very remote areas could you have problems finding a general practitioners.
When you come to India start looking for a good local doctor who you trust as soon as possible . You can always ask co-workers and Indian friends for recommendations.
If you need medicine that is only available by prescription, you need to go to a general practitioner. Getting the prescription itself is not complicated but you may have to wait in the doctor's office for several hours.
Within the past couple of years the numbers of available specialists have steadily increased. However, you cannot yet find the same variety of different doctors as in western countries. More than 80% of the specialists are working in urban areas, leaving rural areas under-served.
Dental treatment in India is comparatively inexpensive. Again, in major cities you will find many well-equipped private dentists. There are also dental clinics for more complicated procedures.
Check with your insurance company whether it covers dental treatment. Even though the cost for regular check-ups and minor treatments is low, more sophisticated treatments can cost thousands of dollars.
You will be able to find many opticians in metropolitan areas, fewer in rural areas. The Yellow Pages are a good source of information for your search. Opticians are usually open from 9am to 9pm. The price level is lower than in the West. Individual prices differ among opticians and the brands they sell. You should take some time finding the cheapest optician in your neighborhood.
Pharmacies in India used to sell any kind of medication without prescription. Although this has changed in recent years, there are still many products sold without medical supervision. Since pharmacy staff are usually not educated in the field of medicine, you need to be sure that you buy the right medication.
In metropolitan areas pharmacies are usually open from 9am to 10pm. Occasionally, you will come across 24-hour pharmacies. Getting your medication in a rural pharmacy may take a couple of days, since they might not have it in stock. Medication costs throughout India are very cheap compared to those in western countries.
Always buy your medication in officially licensed pharmacies! There are many counterfeit products on sale in India that can cause serious health problems.
The most popular alternative medicine in India is ayurveda. It has a long tradition and is considered equal to standard Western medicine. Ayurveda focuses on the medicinal properties of natural ingredients to cure patients.
You will find almost as many ayurveda doctors in India as general practitioners. They are all supervised by the Indian government. If you want to try ayurveda in India you will have to pay for it yourself, as many insurance companies do not cover the cost.