Delta seeks healthcare workers
HA NOI (VNS)— Most provinces in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta are experiencing a shortage of medical workers because preferential policies are not attractive enough.
|Doctors check children for dengue fever at Thanh Binh General Hospital in Dong Thap Province. – VNA/VNS Photo Pham Do
According to Decision 153 of the Government issued in 2006, the aim is to provide seven doctors and one pharmacist with a bachelor's degree for every 10,000 people.
However, statistics from Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharmacy show that for the 17.6 million people in the Delta, there are only 9,200 doctors and 1,200 pharmacists.
This represents a rate of only 5.27 doctors and 0.73 pharmacists per 10,000, or, to comply with Decision 153, the area lacks more than 3,000 doctors and 655 pharmacists.
Ca Mau Province has a ratio of only 6.26 doctors, but Soc Trang Province has the lowest rate with 3.78 doctors, about half the requested figure.
Many island communes and districts in Kien Giang Province lack doctors. Tho Chu island commune has more than 4,000 residents, but not one doctor. Doctors from the Naval Forces Region 5 are responsible for taking care of residents' health.
Although the delta set up a number of priority policies to attract well-qualified doctors and pharmacists, they have failed to work.
Director of the Soc Trang Department of Health Truong Hoai Phong said the province set up a special fund to attract medical staff.
Doctors with university qualifications are entitled to receive a one-off allowance of VND50 million (US$2,380). Doctors with a Master's or PhD degree will receive VND100 million ($4,700) and VND200 million ($9,500) respectively.
"The project was approved by the provincial People's Council nearly a year ago, but attracted only one doctor," he said.
Deputy director of the municipal Department of Health Huynh Van Nhanh said that for five years the city's Hospital of Traditional Medicines had no specialised doctors.
The city's general hospital has only one and only two out of nine district hospitals have traditional doctors.
The reason for the shortage of doctors is the so-called "brain drain". Last year, Only 23-38 per cent of medical graduates from An Giang, Long An, Bac Lieu and Ca Mau worked in local hospitals or medical clinics after graduating from the Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharmacy.
To solve the issue, at a recent conference on training medical staff for the area, representatives said that the university – the only one of its kind in the delta – should diversify its training to include vocational and inter-college programmes.
This school year, the university opened its faculty of traditional-medicine to train 50 students. But conference speakers said it needed to train double this amount to meet regional demand.
Principal of the university Pham Van Linh said that while every province in the area needed more doctors, the university's capacity was limited.
To attract more medical workers to the delta, the State should give more priority to volunteer doctors, and create good working conditions to attract and keep them, he said. — VNS