14th NA’s Q&A sessions

Minister vows to improve grassroots-level healthcare system

Wednesday, 2017-06-14 22:28:18
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Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien responds to questions from NA deputies, at the on-going Q&A sessions of the 14th NA’s third meeting in Hanoi on June 14 (Photo: Duy Linh)
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NDO/VNA – Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said her ministry will do its utmost to improve grassroots-level healthcare network as the government has already approved a resolution on the plan.

At the National Assembly’s question and answer session on June 14, Minister Tien said the Ministry of Health had carefully prepared for the plan on investment and development of grassroots-level healthcare establishments.

Regarding the query of deputy Nguyen Thi Le Thuy from southern Ben Tre province on the role of commune medical stations, Tien acknowledged that there is a shortage of commune clinics, while the quality of existing ones remains poor. The distribution of clinics remains uneven as there are many clinics close together in certain plain districts while it takes residents in isolated and mountainous areas up to half a day to reach a clinic where equipment for primary healthcare is also insufficient.

In regards to the reform and promotion of grassroots healthcare establishments raised by deputy Cao Thi Giang of Quang Binh province, Minister Tien said the sector will focus on grassroots healthcare in this tenure, adding that the international community has recognised Vietnam’s achievements in the field, including the network’sestablishment in hamlets and villages, the reduction of maternal and infant mortality rates, and criteria relating to longevity and nutrition.

The grassroots healthcare network has performed well in primary healthcare despite limited resources, she noted.

In the time ahead, the Ministry of Health will take solutions to improve the policy, human resources, finance, infrastructure and operations of grassroots healthcare establishments. It will coordinate with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to set up rapid response teams and map the location of more than 10,000 commune-level medical stations nationwide, the minister added.

Deputy Le Quan of Hanoi argued that grassroots healthcare clinics, especially in urban areas, have been adequately equipped but efficiency is still low. Meanwhile, many doctors have been forced to rent medical establishments at high expenses.

Vietnam should learn from developed countries’ experience where competent doctors are allowed to make use of grassroots-level clinics to provide medical services, thus attracting patients and helping to ease pressure on health insurance, he added.

During the session, Minister Tien was also questioned on solutions to improve the quality of medical checks-up and treatment along with medicine prices and supply.