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Too few chemists in rural districts

Update: March, 30/2012 - 10:23

 

A GPP (Good Pharmacy Practice) in HCM City. The unbalanced distribution of pharmacists between urban and rural areas is hindering pharmaceutical development. — VNA/VNS Photo The Anh
HCM CITY — The unbalanced distribution of pharmacists between urban and rural areas is hindering the development of the country's pharmaceutical industry, according to reports from medical departments.

Ha Noi and HCM City account for more than 48 per cent of the nation's total number of pharmacists who are B.Sc degree holders.

Statistics show that the 10 leading cities and provinces, which include Thai Nguyen, Hai Phong, Nghe An, Dong Nai, An Giang, Can Tho, Dong Thap and Binh Duong, account for more than 64 per cent of the number of pharmacists with bachelor's degrees.

The 10 least developed provinces, including Lai Chau, Dien Bien, Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Hoa Binh, Bac Can, Kon Tum, Dac Nong, Dac Lac and Ninh Thuan, take up only more than 2.8 per cent.

This uneven distribution reflects the difficulty the sector is facing, in which distant and poor provinces have failed to attract pharmacists with a high level of education. This has resulted in limited public healthcare in these provinces.

The demand for a workforce in the pharmaceutical sector is increasing to meet its development, but the number of pharmacists, especially those with higher education, is lagging behind demand.

Currently, pharmacists holding B.Sc, M.S or PhD degrees account for only 19 per cent of all pharmacists. Master of Science degree holders account for 1.73 per cent and PhD degree holders 1.21 per cent.

Due to the unbalanced distribution, only around 2 per cent of post-graduates are working at the provincial level and nearly 3 per cent of graduates are working at the district level.

According to figures from the Ha Noi Medicine University, it is estimated that there would be three pharmacists for every 10,000 people by 2020 in the country, which would be only half of that in the Philippines in 2002. The current rate in Viet Nam is 1.76 for every 10,000 people.

Around 22,000 students would be needed to be trained from 2009 to 2020, with 14,000 needed for the 2009-15 period.

By 2020, the medical sector would need more than 25,000 pharmacists with bachelor's and upward, MA or PhD degrees, said reports from provincial medicine departments.

The demand for pharmacists with bachelor's degrees would account for more than 85 per cent of the total number.

With a growing drug distribution network, more than 7,000 pharmacists directly involved in the supply of drugs at the GPP (Good Pharmacy Practice) drugstores would be needed, according to reports.

The Ministry of Health is planning to extend the number of medical schools nation-wide, especially in areas that are disadvantaged in attracting a workforce. The medical schools in the country would also be expected to improve education quality.

In an effort to balance the distribution of pharmacists, the training of pharmacists would be based on the need of each locality.

The pharmaceutical sector's human-resource development plan targets having post-graduate degrees for more than 90 per cent of teachers at medical universities and more than 70 per cent of teachers at colleges.

It also aims to train more than 75 per cent of university teachers and over 20 per cent of college teachers at the doctoral level.

In addition, the human-resources plan for the industry is expected to improve the exchange of students and teachers as well as training agreements with reputable international universities and schools in the field. — VNS

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