March 26, 2024

Fostering Global Health Collaboration: Ho Chi Minh City Health Officials Embark on OUCRU-Led UK Visit 

OUCRU, in collaboration with KPMG Vietnam, recently led a delegation from the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health (DoH) on a visit to the United Kingdom. This visit is a part of a UK-funded strategic initiative to support the DoH in developing Ho Chi Minh City as a health innovation hub for Vietnam and the region.

The delegation, led by Associate Professor Tang Chi Thuong, Director of the Ho Chi Minh City DoH, engaged in a week-long series of meetings and discussions in Oxford and London, exploring various models for supporting healthcare innovation and training. The DoH aims to use the learnings from this visit to transform Ho Chi Minh City into a leading health innovation hub for Vietnam and the broader region. 

“The health sector in Ho Chi Minh City acknowledges and values OUCRU’s efforts, as well as the support from Wellcome, in the city over the last three decades. Establishing Ho Chi Minh City as a health innovation hub aligns with our strategic direction, and we hope to become a key healthcare hub in the ASEAN region,” Associate Professor Tang Chi Thuong shared during the visit. 

Throughout the visit, delegates met with a range of UK experts in healthcare innovation, including experts from Oxford University, King’s College London, University of Surrey, and some healthcare innovation companies. These interactions aimed to foster knowledge sharing that could help shape the future of healthcare in Ho Chi Minh City. They discussed various topics related to healthcare innovation, including the development of new technologies, the delivery of better clinical care, and the training of healthcare professionals. 

The delegation meeting at Linacre College, University of Oxford

The delegation also visited a number of healthcare institutions in the UK, including the Pandemic Science Institute, the Oxford Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Oxford Nanopore Technologies (Oxford), and the Wellcome Trust (London).  These visits provided the delegation with a first-hand look at some of the world’s leading healthcare research and innovation facilities. 

“As Ho Chi Minh City seeks to build on the excellent foundations of its health sector, I am proud of the collaboration between the UK Government and Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health in support of the City to become a regional health innovation hub in South East Asia,” British Consul-General in Ho Chi Minh City Emily Hamblin shared at the project’s launch event in October 2023.  

The visit programme was organised by OUCRU in partnership with KPMG, leveraging both organisations’ deep industry experience and technical knowledge. OUCRU brought to the table its longstanding history of locally-driven infectious disease research programme in Asia. KPMG contributed with its broad expertise in business management, particularly in the Life Sciences sectors, and a profound understanding of Vietnam’s business landscape. 

“We are honoured to work with the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health and share with them the wealth of knowledge and innovation from the UK’s healthcare sector. We believe that this visit will lay the groundwork for future collaborations and advancements in healthcare in Vietnam,” said Professor Guy Thwaites, Director of OUCRU.  

The visit also offered an opportunity for the delegates to immerse themselves in the rich cultural environment of the UK, with planned visits to renowned Oxford institutions, museums, and local establishments, ensuring a blend of professional and social engagement. 

The delegation has now returned to Ho Chi Minh City with a wealth of knowledge and ideas. The DoH is now working to develop a plan to implement some of the best practices that they learned, with the aim to transform Ho Chi Minh City into a regional healthcare hub in Southeast Asia.  

This collaborative effort to foster innovation in global health was bolstered by the support of the UK Government, which has provided a grant to fund this health innovation initiative. The UK’s investment in the project reflects a shared vision of enhancing healthcare outcomes through strategic innovation and research, ultimately benefiting the wider community in Southeast Asia and beyond. 

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