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Vietnam grows into preferred destination for foreigners seeking medical care

Vietnam grows into preferred destination for foreigners seeking medical care

Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 18:27 GMT+7
Vietnam grows into preferred destination for foreigners seeking medical care
A Cambodian patient is treated at the Oncology Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

An increasing number of Viet Kieu (overseas Vietnamese) and citizens of many foreign countries have been seeking treatment for their illnesses at hospitals in Vietnam.

Approximately 300,000 foreigners arrived in Vietnam to undergo health checks and treatment in 2018, according to statistics from the Ministry of Health.

Most of these patients are Viet Kieu and Laotian and Cambodian residents, while the others come from South Korea, Australia, the U.S., and the UK.

An easy process in booking a doctor appointment and competitive cost are among the reasons for this trend.

H., a 58-year-old Viet Kieu who has lived in the U.S. for four decades, said she and her two sisters decided to return to Vietnam to undergo cosmetic surgery at a hospital in downtown Ho Chi Minh City.

“The cost for such procedures is three to four times higher in the U.S., and we have to wait for a very long time before the surgeries are performed,” H. said.

Th., another overseas Vietnamese who resides in New York City, has undergone liposuction at the same infirmary.

“It is difficult to make an appointment for liposuction in the U.S.,” Th. said, adding he chose to return to Vietnam after reading many good reviews on the Internet.

According to a representative of the hospital, the number of Viet Kieu seeking cosmetic surgeries at the facility has surged by two to three times over the past three years.

An overseas Vietnamese woman is treated at a beauty clinic in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
An overseas Vietnamese woman is treated at a beauty clinic in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Dr. Nguyen Hong Huy, medical director of a dental clinic in Vietnam, said they often receive about 900 to 1,200 Viet Kieu patients during peak seasons, which come right before Christmas and the Lunar New Year holiday.

“We offer modern equipment, treatment meeting international standards, a long-term warranty, and reasonable prices, which attract many overseas Vietnamese,” Huy elaborated.

At the Oncology Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, doctors treated more than 1,220 foreign patients in 2018, most of whom came from Cambodia, China, the Philippines, and the U.S., said Pham Xuan Dung, director of the infirmary.

Meanwhile, about 20 Laotian and Cambodian men arrive at the andrology department of Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Dan Hospital on a weekly basis, according to Dr. Mai Ba Tien Dung, the department’s chief.

Viet Kieu, American, British, and Australian patients often come to the infirmary to undergo urological surgeries, Dr. Dung added.

There is also promising potential in the treatment of infertility for overseas Vietnamese and foreigners in Vietnam, according to Dr. Ho Manh Tuong, secretary-general of the Ho Chi Minh City Society for Reproductive Medicine.

“Treatment results in Vietnam are similar to those in the U.S., but it is much easier to make an appointment with a competent doctor and the cost is also significantly lower,” Dr. Tuong explained.

An in vitro fertilization (IVF) case costs about US$20,000 in the U.S., while it is only $3,500 in Vietnam, he continued, adding that the expense for the procedure is three times higher in other Southeast Asian nations.

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Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre News

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