Vietnam shares experience in primary healthcare at UN meeting

Tuesday, 2019-09-24 16:40:59
 Font Size:     |        Print

Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien delivers a speech at the UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage in New York on September 23. (Photo: VNA)
 Font Size:     |  

NDO/VNA – About 81% of patients questioned said they are satisfied with medical services in Vietnam, Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien cited an independent survey while delivering a speech at a United Nations meeting on September 23.

The UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage took place in New York on September 23 during the UN General Assembly (UNGA) high-level week. The meeting, themed “Universal Health Coverage: Moving Together to Build a Healthier World”, brought together heads of state, political and health leaders, policy-makers and universal health coverage champions from 169 countries around the world.

Vietnam has made various efforts in strengthening the primary healthcare system to provide better services to its people and allow them to enjoy state- and health insurance-funded medical programmes, Minister Tien said.

A primary healthcare system has been established from central to grassroot levels in Vietnam with more than 11,000 commune-based medical stations, most of which have at least a doctor, a nurse and a midwife working based on the model of a family medical practice, the minister said.

She cited the “Tracking Universal Health Coverage: 2017 Global Monitoring Report” jointly produced by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and World Bank (WB), saying Vietnam scored 73 out of the 100 points in service coverage delivery index in the report, which was higher than the Southeast Asia’s average score of 59 and the global average of 64.

About 90% of the Vietnamese population is covered in health insurance and the Government of Vietnam subsidises 100% of premiums for the poor and 70% of the premiums for the near-poor, she added.

Universal healthcare is a pathway to achieve Health-related Sustainable Development Goals, she continued, adding Vietnam has enforced 10 reforms to enhance the effectiveness of its healthcare system, particularly improving the competence of primary healthcare clinics to provide better services for both ill and healthy people.

Vietnam has reformed its financial mechanism and invested in infrastructure development in the healthcare sector while providing extra training for medical workers at primary healthcare service providers, Tien said, adding that the reforms have promoted patient-centred care to make patients more satisfied with local medical services.

The minister also said the biggest challenge to Vietnam’s healthcare sector is how to come up with a suitable financial mechanism for universal medical system as more funding has been allocated to pay for treatment services rather than primary and preventive healthcare.

This UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage aimed to garner financial and political commitments from countries and sustain health investments. The meeting was called for in December 2017 when the UN passed a resolution on global health and foreign policy, addressing the health of the most vulnerable for an inclusive society.