Besides calling for capital in the form of public-private partnership (PPP), Ho Chi Minh City is deploying multiple experimental investment models to mobilise private capital to invest in medical projects.

According to Tran Vinh Tuyen, Deputy Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, at a meeting with the representatives of 15 American medical companies seeking cooperation and investment opportunities, there are still many medical projects that need investment into material facilities and equipment among others to improve the quality of healthcare, which the city budget cannot cover.

Thus, Ho Chi Minh City lists 14 projects that need about VND15 trillion ($654.04 million) of PPP investment. The city’s budget for medical projects currently makes up 12 per cent of the total new investment costs and still cannot meet half of what the field demands.

Meanwhile, according to plan, from 2016 to 2020, the city will build more standard healthcare facilities through 91 projects with the total investment capital of nearly VND32 trillion ($1.39 billion) (including VND12.5 trillion ($545.3 million) from the government budget).

The medical projects that need PPP investment are not included in this investment plan. Previously, Ho Chi Minh City has deployed about 10 PPP medical projects, such as Saigon General Hospital and Hospital of District 5, among others. However, until now, several of these projects only exist on paper and have received no investment or started construction.

Besides calling for PPP investment, recently, the call for investment from private sector investors for basic medical facilities in Ho Chi Minh City also shows positive signals.

Specifically, from May 2017, DHA Corp. agreed to invest in DHA Medic’ model clinic at the ward 11 medical center (District 3). DHA Medic has also upgraded the infrastructure and equipment to meet visitors’ medical needs.

A medical tourism trend has been forming in the past year. It originated from the cooperation between the medical and tourism industries to develop medical tourism.

This model originated from Ho Chi Minh City University Medical Centre’s medical room for foreigners. Initially, customers were mostly Cambodians, but now more and more people from other countries come for treatment and use the facility’s specialised services.

Recently, University Medical Centre Ho Chi Minh City has made a contract with Joshua Vietnam JSC to bring in Taiwanese people who live in Ho Chi Minh City for treatment.

Some of medical centre’s other partners are also considering doing the same for Koreans who live in Ho Chi Minh City. After less than a year in operation, this model has reached 80 per cent of its designed capacity and the centre is planning to invest and expand this model in the future.

According to Nguyen Thi Anh Hoa, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism, the city now has the necessary conditions to develop medical tourism.

Statistics show that there are 30,000-40,000 foreigners visiting Ho Chi Minh City for treatment each year, spending a total $1billion, equivalent to half of the national medical tourism market. Therefore, the cooperation between the tourism and health industries is expected to bring in great revenue to the city in the future.

Vietnam Investment Review