Despite the fact that Colombia has achieved some important progress in the health care sector, the focus now needs to be on improving quality, efficiency and sustainability. (OECD) According to research of the RVO in 2016, the opportunities for Dutch companies in the Colombian health care sector are focused on the lack of domestic production of medical devices and needs for technology advanced products. Furthermore, the E-health sector has a strong growth. This is due to the fact that according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Colombia’s public expenditure on healthcare is the highest in the region; higher than the expenditures of countries like Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru, there are many opportunities for the Netherlands.
In May 2015, during a visit by the Dutch Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport, Minister Schippers, a ‘Work Plan’ was created that emphasizes specific exchange with regard to the following themes:
- Healthcare models
- Healthcare technology for rural / remote areas
- Service offer
- Quality of the care offer
- Strengthening institutional capacities
- Training of talented health care personnel
Furthermore, the patients from the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba are insured by the Colombian insurer Coomeva Medicina, where the trip from the islands to Colombia is subsidized by the Dutch government. Additionally, 50% of medical tourism in Colombia originates from the islands, making the Netherlands an important customer for Colombia in the field of healthcare. The existing cooperation agreement between the Colombian Superintencia de salud and the Dutch Inspectorate for Health Care (IGZ) and the work plan form a good basis for expanding and developing cooperation between the Netherlands and Colombia. Both in the area of government to government, and knowledge to knowledge, as well as business to business and intersectoral level. There is currently little export of medical equipment and / or aids from the Netherlands to Colombia. Philips is the main company with a branch in Bogotá. Given the fact that the Netherlands, knows a similar health care systems, Dutch companies are very much capable to advice Colombian government or companies.