Taiwan forms healthcare union of 17 hospitals targeting Southeast Asian countries

Malaysia, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand are the first to receive medical help from Taiwan

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New Southbound Market Healthcare Union was established on June 25 (Photo by FB Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital)

New Southbound Market Healthcare Union was established on June 25 (Photo by FB Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In line with President Tsai’s policy to look south for opportunities, the “New Southbound Market Healthcare Union” (新南向市場醫衛交流聯誼會) was established on June 26 spearheaded by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, seeking to tap into the medical and health market in Southeast Asia.

According to Director-General Shih Chung-liang (石崇良) of MOHW Department of Medical Affairs, the ministry has selected six countries – Malaysia, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand -- to be included in its “One Nation One Platform” program, under which Taiwan will provide assistance to partner nations under the New Southbound Policy in developing medical techniques, reported CNA.

Shih added that MOHW plans to loosen regulations regarding remote medical services, cell therapy, and study programs in Taiwan for foreign medical workers, CNA quoted him as saying.

Walter Yeh (葉明水), an official from the Taiwan External Trade Development Council, cited statistics that more than 305,000 patients from other countries visited Taiwan in 2017 for medical treatment, 33.17 percent of whom were from Southeast Asia.

With the founding of the union, Taiwan eyes unlocking the potential of the medical service market in the Southeast Asian region, and hopes to benefit from increased medical equipment exports, personnel training opportunities, and patient referrals, said Yeh.

A total of 17 medical institutions signed up as members of the union, including Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (Linkou), Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, National Taiwan University Hospital, Mackay Memorial Hospital, China Medical University Hospital, Taipei Medical University Hospital, Cheng Hsin General Hospital, Chang Bing Show Chwan Memorial Hospital, E-Da Hospital, Shin Kong Wu Ho-Su Memorial Hospital, Changhua Christian Hospital, Tung’s Taichung Metroharbor Hospital, Chi Mei Medical Center, National Cheng Kung University Hospital, and Kaohsiung Medical University Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital.