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Fujifilm, Terumo train future customers in emerging markets

Japanese medical device suppliers seek more skilled hands for state-of-the-art equipment

A Terumo cardiovascular catheter.

TOKYO -- Japanese medical device suppliers like Fujifilm and Ship Healthcare Holdings are training medical professionals in emerging markets to handle equipment they hope to sell in greater numbers.

Fujifilm is active in the Middle East, educating doctors to be proficient in using endoscopes. The Fujifilm Holdings unit has nine training facilities in the region, including in Turkey and Egypt, a number that it plans to double to around 20 in three years.

The training centers are located inside hospitals and use endoscopy systems supplied by Fujifilm. Local endoscopy specialists teach doctors how to use the equipment and make visual diagnoses. About 50 training sessions are conducted annually in the Middle East. Fujifilm hopes expanding the program will generate new demand for its equipment.

Ship Healthcare, a provider of health and nursing care in Japan, is teaming up with a university in Bangladesh to open a large hospital in Dhaka as early as next year. The hospital will include a vocational school equipped with X-ray, surgical and other medical devices.

Plans call for offering courses for clinical technologists, radiologists, physical therapists and dental technicians. About 150 students annually will be accepted for four-year programs. Osaka Jikei College, a Japanese medical school operator, will help develop the curriculum, while Medical Excellence Japan, a public-private entity, will provide subsidies and other support.

Terumo, meanwhile, is working to promote the use of catheters in heart surgery throughout Asia by providing surgical implements and supporting Japanese doctors who impart these techniques at overseas hospitals. In January, the company opened an office in Yangon, Myanmar's most populous city.

Olympus opened a roughly 1.7 billion yen ($15.1 million) facility in Bangkok in July 2016 to train doctors and nurses using gastrointestinal and surgical endoscopes.

Japan exports about 600 billion yen worth of medical equipment annually, and the government hopes to raise the figure to 1 trillion yen by 2020. Bangladesh is a promising market as home to roughly 118 million people, but the country only has 60,000 doctors, or less than a fifth as many as Japan. It also has limited capacity to train professionals to handle advanced diagnostic equipment.

(Nikkei)

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