HONG KONG & VIETNAM  |   10 - 21 MARCH 2014


Participants on the GLP explored the challenges and opportunities associated to neonatal care in Vietnam, as well as the adaptation of life-saving neonatal equipment to emerging markets. Working with award-winning social enterprise Medical Technology Transfer and Services (MTTS), a Vietnamese medical equipment manufacturer set up in 2003, a cohort of international managers from business and civil society organisations developed a business plan to strengthen MTTS's operations, improve its sales and marketing strategy and support the company's shift towards becoming more commercially oriented.

MTTS is the main partner of NGO East Meets West (EMS) (now Thrive Networks) and its Breath of Life Programme for the provision of custom-designed, low-cost equipment to hospitals, particularly CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) machines, used to assist an infant with respiratory distress, and Phototherapy units that are used for the treatment of jaundice in newborn infants. 

MTTS was awarded one of 13 organisations worldwide to receive the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Award.


GIFT provided a strong platform to question and challenge pre-conceived views about current and future global issues. The development of a business plan was a challenging and rewarding experience that forced me to deal with differing views and approaches to achieve a common goal.

Scott Martin  |  Manager, Corporate Development  |  Origin Energy (Australia)

The programme allowed me to explore different concepts of leadership, the most important ones being based on empathy and trust, paying attention to others, accepting their opinions and as a leader, consolidating these inputs into one decision.

Minh Anh Do  |  Acting Chief Representative  |  ORIX (Vietnam)

This team of participants had a great energy, and the programme made me reflect on what is needed for me, as a leader, to create the same level of engagement, positivity and energy with my own team in Japan.

Ken Tanaka  |  Manager  |  NEC (Japan)


Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is home to 2.6 million people and is the country's 2nd largest city. The city combines traditional Sino-Vietnamese heritage with a legacy from French colonial rule and has remained largely unscathed from decades of war, invasions and occupations. In 2010, the city marked 1,000 years since its establishment as the capital of Vietnam.

The city is one of the main cultural centres of Vietnam and architecture from colonial times includes the Grand Opera House, the State Bank of Vietnam and the Presidential Palace.



Anson Chan
Former Chief Secretary for Administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)

Ronnie Chan
Chairman of Hang Lung Group & Co-Chair of the Asia Society

Zoher Abdoolcarim
Asia Editor of TIME

neonatal care IN vietnam and the developing world

99% of the 4 million newborns who die every year do so in the developing world. The vast majority of these deaths are the result of easily treatable diseases such as infant respiratory distress or jaundice. The challenge and the tragedy lies in the fact that the countries that are most in need of life saving neonatal equipment are also the countries least able to afford it.

In Vietnam the market for medical equipment is growing at a healthy rate of 15% per year. Demand is especially high for operating theatres, emergency equipment, sterilising equipment, patient monitoring equipment and imaging diagnostic equipment. 

At a glimpse:

  • 99 percent of all new born deaths occur in the developing world
  • Every year 4 million newborns die worldwide, mist from easily treatable diseases
  • 38% of child deaths occur in the first four weeks of life
  • Close to 50% of all newborn deaths occur within 24 hours of delivery and up to 75% in the first week of postpartum
  • More than 50% of newborn deaths occur at home
  • More than 7 million infants die each year between birth and two months

Participants met with the management of MTTS, administrators from public and private hospitals, distributors of healthcare equipment and representatives from the local community. They discussed the limitations to access healthcare services and the needs of the community. These insights informed the group to make recommendations to MTTS to scale-up its business and to be less dependent on grants and donations to achieve financial sustainability.

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MTTS is a Vietnamese medical equipment manufacturer established in 2003 specialised in adapting Western medical solutions in neonatal care to the requirements of clinics and hospitals in developing countries, particularly in Vietnam. 

Each piece of equipment is designed to be simple to use, easy to maintain and cheaper than most imported devices. MTTS takes into consideration local tropical climates and basic infrastructures in the adaptation of technologies to local contexts. MTTS also offers important after-sales services and support to end-users. 

EAST MEETS WEST / thrive networks

East Meets West (EMW), also known as Thrive Networks, is an international NGO pioneering evidence-based programs and technologies in health; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); and education for underserved populations in Southeast Asia, particularly Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.


The GLP uses real-world field projects to hone the practical skills needed to manage diverse teams in unfamiliar situations. Through meetings partners, investors, community and business leaders, and through frank and open discussions, participants are invited to question their assumptions, learn to navigate conflicting and contradictory views, and to transform concepts and theories into realities on the ground. 

The participants’ proposal to MTTS was to build on the company's existing but small presence in neighbouring countries and expand and focus their operations outside of Vietnam, starting with the 600 million population of ASEAN and eventually moving into the rest of Asia and Africa. The economies of scale that would arise from the far larger market (US$30 million versus US$2.5 million) would lower MTTS’ cost of production and increase sales to the point where they would be able to hire and train a larger sales force. 

Key recommendations from participants include:

  • Expansion into the growing private healthcare sector in Vietnam and international expansion across ASEAN markets;
  • Relocation of MTTS' manufacturing hubs to optimise operations and lower production and distribution costs;
  • A new sales and marketing strategy that places MTTS at the centre of the selling process and support a culture shift towards being more commercially oriented;
  • Key strategic partnerships to support R&D for new products, and attract external funding.






Below are a few slides from the full business plan developed by participants.


Participants presented their findings at a final forum attended by over 70 interested parties including senior leadership from NEC, Draeger Medical and East Meets West and representatives from the finance, medical and NGO sectors such as ORIX, Becton Dickinson, TC Capital, Siemens, LGT Venture Philanthropy, and Save the Children.

Also in attendance was the Chairman of the Vietnam Medical Equipment Association whose interest in MTTS, whose existence he had not been aware of, was both a sign of the work that still needed to be done to promote their work but also the opportunity that existed for very significant future growth and social returns.

VN group photo.jpg

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