VIETNAM : GROWING DEMAND FOR HEALTHCARE
Vietnam is one of the larger and more populated countries in south east Asia. In the absence of any confirmed figures from within the country itself, it is necessary to turn to UN estimates to gauge how the population of Vietnam has been developing over the years : an estimate puts the Vietnam population in 2018 at 96.49 million and this figure would make the country the 14th most populous on the planet.
Alongside rapid economic development, the health status of people in Vietnam has significantly improved in recent years and disease patterns in contemporary Vietnam are changing, so the country’s government is now considering not only a plan for developing healthcare manpower and improving health infrastructure such as facilities and equipment, but also for better management of limited healthcare resources and reforming health financing to improve overall efficiency.
Demographic changes, growth of disposable income, and a steady economic growth has led to a growing demand for healthcare services in Vietnam. In 2017, healthcare expenditure accounted for 7.5 percent of the GDP (US$ 16.1 billion) and between 2017 and 2021 it is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 12.5 percent.
Such developments are creating new opportunities for medical devices in Vietnam. The country represents a potentially large healthcare and medical equipment market.
The Vietnam healthcare sector is currently facing the challenges which overcrowding, shortage of medical staff, obsolete equipment for surgery and intensive care units : these issues have forced Vietnamese people to travel abroad for medical treatment, with overseas annual spending rising to US$ 2 billion. This further highlights the opportunities in the industry in areas such as healthcare services, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices.
The Vietnamese government encourages the import of medical equipment because local production cannot meet demands. Imported medical equipment has low import duties and no quota restrictions. However, medical devices are subject to regulation and licensing requirements set by MOH (Ministry of Health) that determines the guidelines for medical device purchases for all health systems. The Government recently issued Decree 36/2016/ND-CP regulating the management of medical equipment that is considered the highest legal document to date on the management of medical equipment.
To meet the growing demand for healthcare services, foreign investments in the sector has witnessed rapid growth in Vietnam. Investors can invest in healthcare establishments, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and medical training units. Foreign investments up to 100 percent are allowed in each of these sectors with certain conditions on the capital requirement.
Sources : ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – worldpopulationreview.com – vietnam-briefing.com – export.gov – weforum.org
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