CURRENT healthcare infrastructure in the in the CLMV countries is inadequate, reveals a study done by the Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank).
The study entitled ‘Enhancing India’s Engagement in Healthcare Sector of CLMV Countries’ was released by Suresh Prabhu, minister of commerce & industry, Government of India and HE HOR Namhong, deputy prime minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia in the presence of Chandrajit Bannerjee, director general, Confederation of Indian Industry, Dr Naushad Forbes, chairman, CII International Council and co-chairman, Forbes Marshall Pvt Ltd, HE Cao Quoc Hung, deputy minister of industry and trade, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, HE Dr Than Myint, minister of commerce, Republic of the Union of Myanmar and HE PAN Sorasak, minister of commerce of the Kingdom of Cambodia during the Inaugural Session of the fifth India-CLMV Business Conclave, held at Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Exim Bank’s study analyses the existing situation of the healthcare sector in the CLMV countries, the challenges in its development and strategies for improving the healthcare system in the region. The CLMV region has experienced an epidemiological transition in the recent years from communicable diseases to non-communicable diseases, requiring specialist hospitals to meet the requirements of the changing healthcare scenario in these economies. Insurance coverage is low in the region except for Vietnam, with high out of pocket expenditures on health care.
The CLMV region is expected to grow at a rate of over six percent in the next five years, up above the global economic growth of 3.8 percent. With an increase in per capita GDP and disposable incomes, there will be an improvement in the standards of living and increasing demand for better healthcare services.
The study reports the existence of a large gap in infrastructure financing for the healthcare sector in the CLMV region. Currently, FDI inflows into the healthcare sector are extremely low in the region. CLMV countries rely heavily on external sources of finance including official development assistance to fund their healthcare expenditures. This is not sustainable in the long run, and the situation, therefore, requires promoting more FDI into the sector.
There are considerable opportunities to fund healthcare projects in the CLMV countries that could deliver both primary and tertiary care. Many Indian healthcare providers have already ventured overseas, mostly in Africa by implementing different models of business partnerships. The study suggests that some of these successful models could be replicated in the CLMV countries.
The study further suggests that Indian investors could look into investing in healthcare infrastructures, such as hospitals, specialist centres, and clinics; collaborate to improve the emergency relief system including supplying two-wheeler ambulances; participating in capacity building in the region through telemedicine, tele-education facilities and exchange programmes for medical personnel; entering into the insurance sector of these countries with special emphasis on awareness creation and promoting India as a major medical tourism destination for the CLMV countries.