NA gets hot with healthcare issues

NA gets hot with healthcare issues

Vietnam health insurance

Vietnam health insurance » NA gets hot with healthcare issues

NA gets hot with healthcare issues

Building more hospitals and training sufficient personnel are basic and long-term solutions to deal with current overloads at hospitals, said Minister of Health Nguyen Quoc Trieu.

The Minister made the statement while answering National Assembly deputies at a televised session on November 22, focusing on the management of medicine prices, overloads at hospitals, hospital fees, health insurance and prevention and control of epidemics, including HIV/AIDS.

Regarding the overloads at central and provincial hospitals and solutions to address this issue, he said the Ministry of Health has taken a wide range of measures to improve the quality of treatment and diagnosis, shorten time for treatment and reduce fees, noting that many hospitals have met these requirements.

The health sector has cut down spaces for administration offices, increased areas for treatment sections and added 20,000 hospital beds over the past two years, he stressed.

According to the minister, the health sector has built more satellite hospitals, expanded forms of inpatient treatment and applied new models such as day clinics and family clinics.

While sharing the view of deputy Vo Thi De from the Mekong Delta province of Long An, the Minister said one of the long-term solutions to reduce the overloads at central hospitals is to improve the capacity of healthcare facilities at grassroots level.

The sector has embarked on a programme to train doctors from ethnic minority groups and send them back to work in their native localities with a committed duration, he said, adding that the Ministry of Health had already urged the Prime Minister to adopt a 70-percent allowance for medical workers in remote and isolate areas.
The minister also agreed with the proposal to build up the pharmaceutical industry, which was raised by deputy Nguyen Lan Dung from the Central Highland province of Dak Lak.

Over the past ten years, Vietnam’s medicine output has increased five times, while locally-produced medicines have grown in volume to meet 50 percent of demand in 2009, from 32 percent in 2001, and the volume of imported drugs has dropped.

Vietnam has reaped successes in the pharmaceutical chemistry and the production of vaccines and biological products and now is capable of producing antibiotics, Mr Trieu said.

Agreeing with Mr. Dung’s opinion that hospitals must be located in populous areas, the minister rejected rumours about moving hospitals to suburban districts, saying that basic surveys and planning should be conducted first.

Answering a question by deputy Nguyen Thi Hoa from Hanoi on the sector’s measures to cope with the spread of HIV/AIDS, especially among young people, Minister Trieu stated that over the past three years, Vietnam has reduced the numbers of new HIV-infected cases and AIDS patients as well as deaths from the disease.

Many measures have been taken, including anti-retroviral (ARV) and methadol treatment methods, said the Minister, who emphasised the importance of preventing HIV transmission.

Regarding State management of medicine prices, deputy Le Thi Nguyet asked about the minister’s accountability for continuous increases in medicine prices, which have troubled the people. He said that the Ministries of Health, Finance, Industry and Trade and the National Assembly’s Committee for Social Affairs have made great efforts in managing medicine prices. The average price increase of 10 essential goods in the first ten months of the year and in 2009 was 8.6 percent while medicine prices rose only 3.2 percent.

Concluding the Q&A session with Health Minister Nguyen Quoc Trieu, NA Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong stressed that health care improvements for people are long-term strategic issues that should be paid due attention.

In the future, the Health Ministry needs to repair shortcomings, upgrade hospitals, improve the quality of medicine production, strengthen supervision and inspection work and administer strict punishments to violators, he added.

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