July 3, 2018
On July 3, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed investment agreements with Ship Aichi Medical Service Limited (“SAMSL”), a corporation of Bangladesh, for the expansion and operation of East-West Medical College Hospital  of Dhaka (opening: 2000, number of hospital beds: 280). SAMSL is a joint venture between East-West Medical College Hospital and Green Hospital Supply, Inc., (GHS)  of Japan. With a mission to “provide the people of Bangladesh with medical care services that meet international standards at conscientious prices while utilizing the expertise of Japanese hospital administration,” SAMSL aims to expand the facilities and construct a new wing to increase the number of hospital beds at East-West Medical College Hospital to 584 (the number of beds permitted is 650), and to establish new medical departments with a high degree of specialization to contribute to improving medical care standards.
Bangladesh suffers from a serious lack of medical infrastructure in that there are only six hospital beds per 10,000 population  (the world average being 27 beds, and the average for lower middle-income countries, which includes Bangladesh, being 10). There is also a serious deficit of health workers in Bangladesh, as the total of physicians and nurses per 1,000 population is 0.66  (WHO defines a country with fewer than 2.28 health workers per 1,000 population as having a critical shortage). Due to dietary and lifestyle changes, as well as other factors, noncommunicable diseases have overtaken communicable diseases in Bangladesh, such that cardiovascular disease, cancer and other noncommunicable diseases now account for 61 percent of all diseases in the country . Despite this change to the structure of diseases, however, medical care infrastructure for noncommunicable diseases lags behind, and hospital improvements and medical human resource capacity building to handle higher-order medical care are major challenges for Bangladesh.
In light of these circumstances, the Government of Bangladesh has set a goal of ensuring fair, high-quality healthcare for all citizens, and has established a policy to utilize the private sector in improving medical care services. By providing highly specialized medical care services utilizing Japanese hospital administration expertise, the project will support that policy of the Government of Bangladesh. The project will also contribute to the Growth Strategy (2017) of the Government of Japan which aims to create 20 Japanese medical care bases overseas by 2020.
JICA has provided medical care facilities and equipment, as well as support for nurse capacity building, to the Government of Bangladesh through the Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) and Health System Improvement Project (Japanese ODA loan, 2015)  and the Project for Capacity Building of Nursing Services (technical cooperation project, 2015–2020) and other projects for the medical care sector in Bangladesh. JICA will continue to provide a wide range of support to the medical care sector in Bangladesh, from the public sector to the private sector and from primary to higher-order medical care.
1: A private medical college hospital in Bangladesh with 280 beds and a wide range of departments, including internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, radiology, cardiology, dermatology and rehabilitation.
2: A general medical care consulting firm of Japan. GHS conducts the sales and maintenance of medical devices, medical materials, medical equipment, medical systems and the like, provides consultation for the startup, relocation, administration, management and the like for hospitals, nursing welfare facilities and the like, and operates dispensing pharmacies and private residential homes with nursing services.
3: Source: “World Health Statistics 2014”
4: Source: “World Health Statistics 2016”
5: Source: “Health Bulletin 2016”