|A foreign patient talks to a Vietnamese doctor at the HCM City University Medical Centre, a popular destination for foreign medical tourists. Photo courtesy of the hospital|
HCM CITY — HCM City has emerged as medical tourism destination due to its fast-growing health services and medical technologies, according to local authorities.
The number of overseas Vietnamese and foreigners visiting Việt Nam for medical tourism has increased steadily over the past few years, according to the city’s Department of Tourism.
Treatments span the full range of medical services, with the most common choices of services including dental care, cosmetic surgery, cardiology intervention and fertility treatment.
Last year, more than 357,000 foreign patients visited hospitals in Việt Nam for medical check-ups and treatment, with in-patients accounting for 57,000, generating revenue worth US$2 billion.
HCM City accounted for 40 per cent of the number of foreign patients. The HCM City University Medical Centre, a popular destination for foreign tourists, receives an average of 40-50 foreign patients a day.
Âu Thanh Tùng, head of the hospital’s general planning department, said: “Foreign patients from nearly 80 countries have visited the hospital for medical treatment, with Laos and Cambodia accounting for 80 per cent.”
“The main drivers of medical tourism development are highly competent doctors, modern infrastructure and advanced technology as well as better-quality care.”
Dentistry costs in Việt Nam are three to ten times lower than in other Asian countries, according to the Health Ministry’s Medical Services Administration.
Despite high quality care and lower cost, the number of dental tourists is still modest compared to the total number of foreign visitors to the country.
An average of 100,000 foreign patients have received dental care with annual revenue of VNĐ3.5 billion ($151,200) in recent years.
Experts said that long-term strategic plans and concerted efforts were needed for growth of medical tourism.
The city’s People’s Committee's plan on medical tourism development for the 2019-25 period calls for expanded emergency medical services for tourists.
The committee also ordered the health sector to focus on developing a medical tourism network that meets international standards.
Tăng Chí Thượng, deputy director of the city’s Department of Health, said that the number of foreign tourists and expatriates in the city had steadily increased, resulting in high demand for emergency and health services.
In recent years, his department has implemented marketing and promotion activities for medical tourism.
In 2018, the city’s Department of Health in coordination with the Department of Tourism released the first guidebook on medical tourism in the city.
A total of 10,000 books were delivered to hospitals, hotels and travel agents.
As part of the coordinated efforts, a new website to introduce the city’s medical tourism network to foreign tourists is scheduled to be launched in the first quarter of this year. — VNS