HCM CITY — Vo Nhu Trong, 28, of Quang Nam Province is being treated for chronic kidney failure at the Da Nang General Hospital. But he does not have to pay a single dong since the municipal government fully subsidises treatment for patients with medical insurance.
Trong has to get a dialysis three times a month plus drugs, and it used to cost him VND1 million (US$49) a month – a large sum for this poor farmer – since the insurance only covers 80 to 95 per cent of the treatment cost depending on the hospital.
But last June the city decided to cover the difference too for all patients at the hospital.
Nguyen Tai, 52, of Da Nang has also been treated for chronic kidney failure at the hospital for the last five years. He says his poor family's condition has worsened because of the burden of his treatment cost, adding he had thought he could not continue the treatment.
Dr Tran Ngoc Thanh, head of the Da Nang General Hospital, says 180 patients with chronic kidney failure, many of them poor, are being provided dialysis.
Each patient requires it three times a month and it costs VND400,000 each time while drugs cost VND2-3.6 million a week.
Thus, even with health insurance, it costs a patient more than VND1 million a month.
Dr Nguyen Huu Da, head of the hospital's dialysis ward, says patients with kidney failure require lifelong treatment.
"But poor patients cannot afford it, so the Government should have policies to help them."
Da Nang is the only place in the country to help poor patients with renal problems, he adds.
The subsidies cost the city around VND60 million ($2,860) a month.
It has also spent nearly VND8 billion ($380,950) to buy a dialysis machine, Thanh says. — VNS