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“In April 2017, Neeta read an article in the Guardian about a family in Dhaka, Bangladesh. They were asking the government for mercy killing for three of their children who had a disease called Muscular Dystrophy, wherein your muscles degenerate by the early 20s. That actually hit us and we realised the need for medical facilities and therefore medical tourism because you actually need to travel for these medical facilities, either because they are not available in your country, or they are really expensive or not of good quality. That’s exactly where the entire concept of medical tourism began.”
Neeta Gajaria and Aashnee Gajaria are the dynamic mother-daughter duo who founded Meditourz, a Medical Tourism venture which facilitates people in getting regenerative and holistic care in Mumbai, India. Imbibing the teachings of Buddhism in her life, Neeta says that “compassion and empathy” are her core values that enabled her in starting Meditourz with her daughter, Aashnee.
Aashnee expresses that the medical care in India is now at par with the West due to our developed medical sciences, state of art facilities in terms of the hospitals and brilliant doctors. She also brings to light that India has always been a hub of advancement in holistic medical therapy such as stem cell therapy, regenerative medical treatment and salt therapy. Further expounding on regenerative medicine, she says that this form of medicine helps significantly in neurological conditions like Autism, C-B and Muscular Dystrophy.
“I know a mother whose child would hold her and bang her into the wall. The intensity was so severe but when the child took the first shot of autologous stem cells, he became much more calmer and when he had a repeat shot, he realised that he wanted to become a Graphic Designer. Now, he is in a Graphic Designing school.” Neeta shares this astonishing story of a recovering patient.
Neither Aashnee nor Neeta belong to a medical background which posed a challenging situation in their journey of establishing Meditourz, however, “It is very satisfying at the end of the day when you connect the parents to the doctor, you feel like you have done something,” says Neeta.
The mother and daughter never had any difficulty working together. Aashnee says that “We had our roles very defined. Things flow automatically. There is no stepping around in each other’s space. Of course we help and assist each other in whatever way we can. We always fit into each other’s shoes but we have a great understanding of things.” Neeta deals with patients and the parents whereas Aashnee handles the marketing operations, social media, finances and everything else behind the scenes.
Regenerative medicine and Stem Cell therapy is an intriguing branch of medicine so there weren’t a lot of problems that Aashnee and Neeta faced in India, but they had to tackle a lot of problems internationally. Aashne further adds, “Because we are in the niche market of cell therapy, it is not widely accepted. The notion of it being non-invasive, etc was difficult for people to understand.” The cultural difference and language barrier were also a prominent hurdle they had to cross in their journey.
Their work has covered 7 to 8 countries and touched the lives of at least 1,000 – 1,500 people worldwide.
The profession of medicine has become a capitalistic commodity in this age and time but Aashnee shares that the doctors Meditourz works with are “grounded, principally driven people who want to do right by their patients.”
“Everything is actually in our own hands. We all want to make a name in terms of career, we want to make our parents proud, we want to make our families settled but never at the cost of your own health.”
The fast paced modern lifestyle often tips people over the edge because they are so busy taking care of everything but their health. Aashnee believes that our issues start from the gut. “If you don’t lead a healthy lifestyle may that be your food, sleep or being active in any form of exercise, etc, your issues are automatically going to start,” expresses the Founder.
Inspired by the vision of becoming the “advocates of holistic treatments and lifestyle” in 2020, Neeta believes that taking everything in your stride as a learning experience is important. She says “patience and perseverance are the two things which will take you a long way,” even in the midst of the trying times with Covid-19 pandemic, when the need for exceptional healthcare is more resounding than ever.