Health Care - A HEALTHY EXPORT PRODUCT working relations The chairman of the Beijing International Toronto Hospital, Wilson Parasiuk, is full of praise for the way Rabobank's health care team handled the underwriting of this unique project. As well as compliments, this former Minister of Health in Canada's Province of Manitoba has advice for a bank whose goal is to become a global player in the sector. Wilson Parasiuk, chairman of the Beijing International Toronto Hospital - full of praise for our health care team. The Canadian Group Interhealth Canada (China) Inc. (ICCI) was contacted hy our I long Kong office after they had heard in the market about a Canadian health care group that had beaten more than 80 other international firms in a bid for the construction and exploitation of the first- ever private health care facility in China. The mandate given to the Canadians is unique in that it not only provides for the operating of this innovative facility, but the administrators have also managed to secure agreement on the unrestricted importation of the kind of drugs and technology taken for granted in the developed world. Rabobank Hong Kong was able to engineer the debt financing of the project and at the same time gain high profile entry into a very promising market. (See deal of the month, What's NewS6/97). HEALTHY RATING The Beijing International Toronto Hospital project is the first of ICCI's ventures. ICCI was established by a consortium of Canadian health care companies trying to sell their products internationally. This means potential customers have access to a superb network of the best and brightest that Canada has to offer in health care services,' says Parasiuk. And, it appears, Canada's best and brightest is about the best you can get anywhere in the world. 'The United Nations had rated Canada the best place to live four years in succession,' he continues. 'One of the reasons is the fact that our health care system is probably the best in the world.' And unlike its southern neighbour, which Parasiuk says offers the Rolls Royce of health care to a privileged few and a bare minimum to no less than 35 million of its people, services in Canada are available to all. 'As a Canadian,' he says, 'it's just shocking that an industrialized country can't cover its population in terms of health care.' COOPERATIVE APPROACH It is Canada's reputation as a quality health care provider which Parasiuk believes has contributed to ICCI's success in its endeavours in China. What Parasiuk and his colleagues believe they are offering is an established track record of best practice and a commitment to the concept of cooperation between the public and private sectors. 'At home,' he explains, 'around 72 percent of health care is publicly funded; the remaining 28 percent is privately funded. Our system is that basic care is covered and you have choice in terms of additions. In contrast, only 30 percent is publicly funded in China even though it is a "socialist country". The reason is that it is a corporate-ist country if you understand what I mean. You get your health care from your employer. Let me give you an example. There are 3.5 million railway workers in China. This means their children will be born in railway hospitals, will go to railway schools and the family will live in a railway house. You get a railway pension. In the 1990s, these state-owned enterprises have a horrible problem. They cannot really lay people off even if there's no work because their whole life depends on their employer.' BASIC CARE Getting round these problems is a major task for the near-future and, Parasiuk believes, the Chinese see projects like the Beijing International Toronto Hospital at least as a means of contributing to the solution. He comments: 'Some of the key people in our team are Chinese-Canadians who know both countries well. We're able to communicate at all levels with the Chinese and we are able to be very candid with them. We've said frankly that while they have made tremendous progress in many areas, health care isn't one of them in the sense that they were basically inverting the pyramid. In a good health care system, you focus on public health and work up to the top of the pyramid in terms of high technology. As soon as we started talking to the Chinese about the project, they began asking about magnetic resonance imagers and that type of technology. Our response was: Let's get hospitals clean before we start worrying about expensive high-tech equipment. That's where you have to start, with the basics.' ECONOMIC ARGUMENT The fact that the Beijing facility will be anything but basic and anything but accessible to ordinary people in the capital (target patiënt group is expatriates and high net-worth Chinese) is shrugged off by Parasiuk. 'It's an economie argument," he emphasizes. 'We say that in order for the Chinese to better develop their economy, they have to make sure that highly educated and innovative people are coming' in to manage the joint ventures that are being established. These people will not come unless they have pretty good housing, education that does not penalize their kids,

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blad 'What's news' (EN) | 1997 | | pagina 4