Vietnam Healthcare Facilities For Islands In The Pipeline

HCM CITY (VNS) — The Government plans to allocate VND8.2 trillion (US$390.5 million) to develop healthcare facilities on the country's islands, according to the Ministry of Health.

The ministry is currently drafting a plan that would outline activities through 2020.

Work would begin next year on both hospitals and health clinics, said Dr Nguyen Hoang Long, deputy head of the Finance and Planning Department under the Ministry of Health.

Speaking at a workshop held yesterday in HCM City, Long said the Government would invest in upgrading existing hospitals and build new ones to support emergency aid for the islands.

Work will be done on the Institute of Maritime Medicine in Hai Phong, Military Hospital No4 in Nghe An Province and C Hospital in Da Nang. Hospital 87 in Nha Trang, the Medical Centre at Vung Tau Petro and Military Hospital No78 on Phu Quoc Island will also be upgraded.

Under the plan, health clinics in island districts will be renovated and equipped with modern machines, and four new ships used as mobile health facilities for emergency aid will be built as well.

The telemedicine system in island districts will also be developed so that information can be exchanged and professional experts at reputable inland hospitals consulted.

The plan also calls for four new emergency-aid centres in Hai Phong, Da Nang, Khanh Hoa Province and Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province.

The centres would work with four existing national rescue centres to transport patients from islands to inland hospitals.

Ships will also be equipped with medicine cabinets and have necessary equipment for emergency aid, and healthcare staffs on islands will receive training to improve their skills.

To support training of island health personnel, the Government will issue more preferential policies.

Long said the project would ease access to healthcare for island residents and help contribute to the country's economy.

According to a report from the Health Strategy and Policy Institute, only 34 per cent of the total number of health centres on island districts have been rebuilt.

Many of them are in bad condition and do not have enough equipment.

Some island communes have no health clinics at all, and island district hospitals face staff shortages. They now need a total of 1,563 doctors and 265 pharmacists.

There is a high demand for healthcare in this region.

Research by the Medicine Institute showed that fishermen are often diagnosed with heart disorders, psychological and behaviour disorders, digestive disorders, dental disease and hearing problems.

More than 80 per cent of the total number of families in these regions need high-tech medical care.

Only 53 per cent of people living in island districts had bought health insurance by the end of last year. This number is lower than in other regions. — VNS

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