Emergency Care in Southeast Asia is Getting a Lift from Private Healthcare Businesses

Emergency healthcare services are falling short throughout Southeast Asia, but private healthcare facilities are starting to pick up the slack.

Emergency medicine and related ambulatory services are few and far between in some Southeast Asian countries like Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos, where public healthcare systems are frequently stretched thin. Private healthcare hospitals and facilities are moving in to address these gaps head-on, incentivized by the increasing demand for better healthcare services throughout the region. Sunrise Japan Hospital, a private hospital that operates in Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh, opened in September 2016. The hospital was the product of a three-company partnership, and hospital leadership has worked to encourage the local population to stay in-country for emergency healthcare services. The hospital built an emergency department within the facility, which is run by 120 staff members from both Japan and Cambodia, and invested US$75,000 in its first ambulance. International SOS Myanmar, a global medical service provider, is helping Myanmar’s fractured public healthcare system by offering private ambulance services, which coexist alongside the country's two-year-old public ambulance service. Though private ambulance companies are often faster to arrive at an emergency scene than their public counterparts, some of these services have gained reputation for shady business practices. It's clear that emergency care remains a huge need in the area, both for treating patients in a timely manner, but also for raising the confidence of citizens in their home healthcare systems and reducing the outward flow of medical travel abroad. —AA

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