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Health Minister speaks out over child vaccines

Update: October, 28/2013 - 08:27

The Quinvaxem vaccine has been used in the country since 2010.— File Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien yesterday publicly sent her condolences and deepest sympathy towards the families of three infants who died after being vaccinated against hepatitis B in central Quang Tri Province in July.

Official investigation into the case confirmed that the deaths were caused by irresponsibility of staff as they failed to follow the standard procedures in vaccination.

Tien said, however, that this was a very serious but rare case that had never occurred in the field of vaccination in Viet Nam before.

She added that she hoped parents would still continue to have their children vaccinated for their future health.

Tien warned health staff throughout the country that deaths and serious complications might occur as a result of the seemingly smallest mistakes, thus the staff must make the safety of children their highest priority and work with the highest responsibility.

In response to the National Assembly deputies' concerns over hospitals' preferences towards patients without health insurance cards over those with cards (which receive discounted hospital fees), Tien said this was unacceptable.

She said any patient, with or without a health insurance card, should be treated with the highest quality possible.

Tien said, however, that the general achievements of the health industry in offering health insurance should not be overlooked due to a few exceptional cases.

She cited the fact that 121 million people enjoyed medical treatment with the support of health insurance in 2012, which means that health insurance coverage throughout the country reached 68 per cent.

She said thanks to health insurance, patients received basic treatment to complex treatment, such as surgery and hemodialysis, at affordable prices.

The minister added that currently, the Government offered 100 percent financial support to buy health insurance for those registered as "poor citizens" and 70 per cent support for those registered as "near-poor citizens."

In response to public concerns over the overload of patients at hospitals, Tien acknowledged that the ratio of hospital beds per 10,000 people was currently very low, with only 2.5 beds per 10,000, while the minimum standard requires 39 per 10,000.

The only solution to the problem, as Tien pointed out, was to increase the number of hospital beds and open more hospitals, which is what the Government is currently trying to do by opening additional hospitals in remote and poor areas and some hospital in urban areas.

The most recent policy cited by Tien was the Government's decision to earmark about VND20 trillion (over US$952 million) for the construction of additional units for hospitals in Ha Noi and HCM City and construction of new hospitals with the ability to accommodate at least 1,000 beds.

The Ministry of Health has also piloted a project of at-home treatment which brought doctors closer to patients, easing the burden for patients by not having them come to hospital.

She said, however, that all this work on progress would take at least three years and that it would take time to see the results.

"Inhuman act" condemned

Minister Tien admits that the health industry is the first one responsible due to its failure in management for letting the Ha Noi-based Cat Tuong Beauty Salon operate without a license.— Photo tuoitre

On Friday, minister Tien strongly condemned doctor Nguyen Manh Tuong, the owner of Ha Noi-based Cat Tuong Beauty Salon for dumping his female customer's body into the Hong River after she died at his salon following a cosmetic surgery.

Speaking for the first time to the media about the case that happened on October 19, Minister Tien called his act "inhuman".

Doctor Tuong conducted a cosmetic surgery on Huyen, leading to her death the same day. After she died, Tuong and his salon's security guard threw her into the Red River in an attempt to cover up the death.

Tien admitted that the health industry was the first one responsible due to its failure in management for letting the salon operate without a licence. — VNS






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