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Healthcare out of touch with reality

Update: December, 28/2013 - 09:40
HA NOI (VNS)— Local authorities do not have adequate knowledge about the various problems in their areas, as a result of which they cannot tackle several important issues.

That was part of a statement made by Nguyen Sy Cuong, a member of the National Assembly's Laws Committee, at a conference on the role of local authorities in the health sector in Ha Noi on Thursday.

He noted that as a result of that lack of knowledge, local authorities could not tackle important issues despite having thousands of medical inspectors at their disposal.

The conference aimed to define the responsibilities of central and local agencies in managing the health sector. As part of that process, it proposed the creation of a health system from the grassroots level.

Cuong said it is his belief that the workforce of the health sector currently lags in professionalism, with some preventive care centres and district-level medical centres carrying out tasks that are supposed to be carried out by state-level agencies.

Whenever a problem arises, there is little clarity on who is responsible for providing solutions, he added.

Do Trung Hai, deputy head of the municipal People's Council's Culture and Social Affairs Committee, pointed out that while Ha Noi has regulations about what the city's and districts' responsibilities are if a problem occurs, there are difficulties in implementing those regulations.

For instance, when local authorities inspect a medical station, station personnel refuse to accept the authorities' suggestions because they believe they come under the management of the Department of Health.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) should, therefore, act as advisor to the government and offer suggestions on how to empower local authorities, added Hai.

Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien stated that while the ministry is responsible for supervising medical stations in relation to their professional performance, local authorities have the responsibility of monitoring the personnel and the organisation.

However, several people seem to be unaware of their individual responsibilities, she said.

Director of the MoH's Department of Legislation Nguyen Huy Quang proposed a restructuring of the health system and the introduction of new laws to manage medical stations and hospitals.

Standing member of the National Assembly's Committee of Social Affairs Nguyen Thi Kha suggested that the MoH should set up a committee to provide an immediate response to the issue of poor professionalism and assign responsibilities to the required people within a specified time frame.

Kha noted that co-operation has also been lacking between the health sector and local authorities over the past year. For instance, if a baby dies after receiving a vaccination in the central province of Quang Tri's Huong Hoa district, the health sector assigns some medical workers to the province to investigate the issue.

However, the medical workers can only focus on the vaccination technique and lack the legal and management skills required to understand the situation comprehensively.

Large medical stations and hospitals must have lawyers who can be accessed quickly whenever a problem occurs, added Kha. — VNS


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