Interview: Dr. Wanchai Sirisereewan Talks Medical Tourism

As interest for regional economic collaboration continues to grow in all sectors, healthcare is continuing to improve in many Southeast Asian countries. As a result, the region is quickly gaining interest from the global community. This is partially due private sectors who have worked hard to promote medical tourism and travel.

One example is the “Joint Replacement and Hand Surgery Seminar” at Melia Hotel. It was organized by CGH Hospital, which was held on September 2 and attended by over 100 people as well as Myanmar doctors.

We wanted to know more about CGH Hospital, the event, and how it can help Myanmar people. Myanmar Business Today had the privilege to interview Dr. Wanchai Sirisereewan, director of CGH Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand — the following is what we learned.

Could you please tell us more about CGH Hospital?

CGH Group, formerly known as Central General Hospital Group, is an accredited hospital in Thailand. We have three chains of hospitals in Thailand including: CGH (Phaholyothin Rd.), CGH Saimai, and CGH Lumlukka. CGH is multi-specialty hospital located in the Northern part of Bangkok, Thailand. The hospital is conveniently located just only 4 kilometers from Don Muang International Airport.

It was established in 1992, with 320-beds, and over 25 specialty clinics including: cardiology [heart], orthopedics [bones], GI [gastroIntestinal], endocrinology [hormones], nephrology [kidney], neurology (nervous system), and nutrition.

We provide 24-hour Emergency Room service for acute care, and offer 29 dialysis stations to provide a comfortable, clean, and safe environment for patients and their families with both chronic and acute kidney failure. The hospital had been JCI certified since 2012.

CGH positions itself at the middle range of the market of private hospitals. Our patient mix falls into three general categories: Thai Nationals, the expatriate community in Thailand, and international patients who cross borders to seek the middle-level tertiary care that our quality is ensured and affordable, to middle-class people.

We have a long history, with a focus on patient safety, quality, standards, and a caring service.

Our vision is one of sincerity — to provide quality medical services that build trust with all patients.

What was the objective of the bone and joint event held in Myanmar?

The purpose of the event is to provide free consultation and health advice from Thai doctors. Our goal is to promote healthy living for all Myanmar people.

In the morning we held an academic seminar attended by Myanmar orthopedists. Our Thai doctors were able to share our knowledge on joint replacement and hand surgery. The afternoon session was a free consultation with Thai doctors. It was attended by over 100 people with joint and bone problems.

More and more people are concerned about their health, and the number of people seeking medical treatment has increased industry-wide. CGH Hospital, is expected to be a destination for those people. CGH can provide rapid access to resources to meet the diverse needs of patients, especially medical tourists. We offer a unique combination of high quality doctors, an appealing service, affordability, and experience in serving patients. Thailand is also a popular tourist destination with a good infrastructure.

We usually think about diabetes and heart problems when we get older. How extreme is the situation of elderly suffering from bone and joints problems?

The lifestyles of people today differ greatly from how they used to be in the past. Many things have changed, for example, the environment, residency, food, and eating behaviors and many other factors impact people’s health. It is also important to note that the characteristics of certain diseases vary between different people. That is why a comprehensive treatment is beneficial in coping with the variations of illnesses.

People lose bone mass or density as they age, especially women after menopause. The bones lose calcium and Vitamin D.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of joint problem in older people. It usually affects knees, hips and spine. Usually, they are minor annoyances, but sometimes joint pain and deformities can make it very hard to function, and eventually you may need to have surgery or have the joint replaced. Because of this its important people make sure that their bones are in good health.

How can CGH Hospital help Myanmar patients, especially those who suffer from joint and bones problems?

Our team of physicians and medical specialists are certified from leading schools and some of them have been trained in the US or Western Europe. We believe we can treat all patients including those from Myanmar. We can provide quality care at every stage of the treatment process, from patient registration to following up on post procedure results that include dietary and medical consultation as well as physical therapy using modern medical tools, and technologies.jmjkkk

What are some common countries CGH patients come from?

About 85 per cent of the patients we treat per year are Thai patients. 15 per cent are non-Thai patients from different countries.

The nationalities with the largest numbers of patients are Myanmar, Chinese, Cambodian, Laotian, American, Indian, Pilipino, British, and Austrian.

We saw an increase in Myanmar and Cambodians from 2015-2017.

How is CGH Hospital different from other hospitals such as Bumrungrad or Yanhee?

As we position ourselves at the middle range of the market of private hospitals. Our doctors are board certified from leading schools and some of them were trained in the US or Western Europe. Our patients can trust them for quality care and reasonable prices. Many foreigners appreciate the quality of service at CGH Hospital.

Do you have a final message for Myanmar patients?

The global medical tourism industry has been growing, and we expect that trend to continue both for our hospital and for Thailand as a country. Demand continues to be driven by two factors: aging populations in developed countries and mobile consumers in emerging economies where healthcare resources are not sufficiently developed. We also see that as affluence rises in emerging markets spending on healthcare becomes more prevalent. These factors will continue to drive patients to look at all options for health care, including crossing international borders to seek out high quality care and affordability with their healthcare services.

To the Myanmar people I would say, “We are committed to continue playing a key role in mid-range private hospitals in Thailand, we will continue to upgrade and add capacity to our infrastructure to be able to cater to the more complex needs of middle class patients.”

Source: Myanmar Business Today

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