The development of Ho Chi Minh City’s medical system is at a stage that requires significant investment in material facilities and equipment but is facing a limited state budget at the same time. The city is therefore calling for 14 investment projects, with a total investment volume of VND15 trillion (~$654 million). The state budget for medical projects currently makes up 12 per cent of total investment costs and still cannot meet half of the demands. To cover the full scope of its investment plan for the 2016-2020 period, which consists of 91 standard healthcare facility projects, the city requires around VND32 trillion ($1.39 billion), including VND12.5 trillion ($545.3 million) from the government budget.
Apart from PPP investment projects, the city is encouraging private sector investors to pour investment into basic medical facilities. For instance, DHA Corporation decided to invest into Ward 11 medical center in District 3 by upgrading infrastructure and equipment to meet visitors’ medical needs.
It is noteworthy that Vietnam’s health sector has the potential to develop for medical tourism. Figures show that there are 30,000-40,000 foreigners visiting Ho Chi Minh City every year to receive medical treatment, spending $1billion in total. This amount accounts for one half of the national medical tourism market. Initially, most foreign customers were Cambodians, but now more and more people from other countries come to Vietnam for treatment and use the facility’s specialized services. With these positive signals, we can expect Vietnam’s medical tourism market to expand and bring in high revenue to the country in the years to come.
Vietnam’s fast-growing economy, improved standard of living and increased healthcare requirements promise great opportunities for stakeholders in the healthcare market, including hospital investors and suppliers and distributors of medical devices, pharmaceuticals or medical consumables.