Nearly two years ago, United States-based Sanford Health signaled it wanted to get into the burgeoning field of children's medical services in Kunming. That idea came to fruition earlier this week as the non-profit began a soft opening period at its new pediatric healthcare facility in the city's north.
Curious families brought their kids to visit a staff made up of both foreign and Chinese doctors when the 1,700-square meter center opened October 14. The clinic is made up of 14 exam areas, six treatment rooms, education and training spaces and general use offices that can accommodate up to ten physicians simultaneously, according to a Sanford press release.
Built in collaboration with YMCI Calmette Medical Investment and Management Company — a Chinese state-owned asset — the children's clinic is attached to a much larger, and as yet unfinished, hospital. When complete, Kunming Ganmei International Medical Center (昆明甘美国际医院) will encompass a total of 150,000 square meters and have more than 1,100 beds. It is expected to open all wards early in 2015.
Although the entire facility is owned by Calmette, Sanford will manage day-to-day operations of the pediatric wing. Jim Slack, vice president of Sanford International Clinics told reporters, "This area of Kunming is a perfect fit for our International Clinics initiative. [The] partnership with YMCI Calmette, its work to build a state-of-the-art hospital, and the growing population of Kunming all fit together with what we hope to accomplish."
That hope had been something of a long time in coming. The health service provider was initially approached in 2011 by an ensemble of Kunming investors traveling abroad. The group was headed by doctor Guo Zhiguang, who had worked previously with both Sanford and Calmette. A cooperation agreement between Sanford Health and First People's Hospital was then signed in August of 2012, which eventually lead to the facility opening this week.
The international pediatric clinic is the first of its kind in Kunming, as well as Sanford's first foray into the Chinese healthcare industry. The company, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has previously opened a series of doctor's offices in the African nation of Ghana, but is otherwise concentrated in the US.
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