A healthy approach to socially responsible fund management
At Kenno, we share the World Health Organization’s desire to expand universal healthcare services. To further this goal, our portfolio decisions always place equal weight on maximising social as well as investor returns.
As the United Nations (UN) marks the 75th anniversary of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) foundation, this year’s UN World Health Day theme is Health for All. This encapsulates the WHO’s goal of promoting universal health coverage to lift people out of poverty and promote the well-being of families and communities.
In recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts, and other humanitarian crises worldwide have reinforced the fundamental need to provide universal access to essential medical services.
As noted, Kenno is committed to supporting companies that pursue that ambition. Indeed, sustainability factors play a pivotal role in our portfolio construction process. That said, while environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment themes are gaining traction across the globe, social concerns can often take a back seat. As such, by identifying companies capable of building thriving businesses and meeting the needs of the communities they serve, we endeavour to maximise the “social” in our corporate social responsibility.
To that end, Kenno is investing in businesses that impact public health in Vietnam through companies like Thai Nguyen International Hospital (TNH).
A rapidly changing environment
First, some background. In tandem with an increasingly prosperous population, Vietnam is quickly becoming a global centre for healthcare excellence. Households with annual incomes above USD 13,450 are predicted to comprise almost 20% of the population by 2024 – in comparison, the same figure in 2019 was 12%. Concurrently, the need for better-quality and affordable healthcare options is growing. Studies show an expanding awareness in Vietnam of the importance of wellness, prevention, and early diagnostics.
However, as society urbanises and ages and the incidence of non-communicable diseases rises, more investment is needed to ensure the Vietnamese have better access to the health services they need. The public sector still dominates the market, accounting for 84% of hospital facilities. However, these services are generally crowded, particularly in the big cities.
To reduce the strain on the public sector, Vietnam’s government is encouraging the establishment of private hospitals. Policymakers are also guiding the healthcare industry to grow in a more market-focused way. This involves loosening regulations and trimming economic support for public hospitals and so that the private sector can compete on a more equal footing, establish more efficient services, and accelerate the growth of healthcare infrastructure.
Thai Nguyen International Hospital – far-reaching change
Thai Nguyen International Hospital (TNH) is well positioned to thrive from these profound industry changes.
TNH operates two general hospitals – its namesake the Thai Nguyen International Hospital and Yen Binh General Hospital – with 600 beds in total. The hospitals’ location in Thai Nguyen province (northeast Vietnam) makes it ideal for patients who do not have the time or finances to travel to Hanoi. Yen Binh General Hospital is situated in the Yen Binh Industrial Park, where, for instance, Samsung Electronics constructed its second Vietnam complex in 2015. The area is also home to many other foreign direct investment enterprises, and as a result, there is high demand for workers and healthcare services.
In line with its vital social mission, TNH operates several public health programmes. In 2022, for example, it provided free health check-ups and consultations for local children with disabilities. Then in February this year, TNH launched its Home Health Care Service to provide care for post-natal, post-operative, elderly, and chronic disease patients, among others.
TNH also plans to expand to provinces beyond Thai Nguyen by opening two more hospitals and expanding its patient capacity to 1,050 by 2025.
To make the WHO’s Health for All goal a reality, companies like TNH provide individuals and communities with high-quality, people-centred primary healthcare services, which is the most effective way to sustain healthy societies as they evolve.