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Neighbourhood clinics face critical staff shortage

Update: January, 18/2014 - 09:23
HCM CITY (VNS)  — Medical clinics in HCM City's communes and wards cannot meet the national healthcare targets because they face a serious staff shortage, the city's Department of Health said at a meeting on Thursday in HCM City.

National healthcare programmes include treatment for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, cancer, leprosy, hypertension and food safety and hygiene.

At many clinics, one person, either a doctor paraprofessional or nurse, is often responsible for four national healthcare tasks out of a total of 19, excluding the city's own healthcare initiatives.

Many of the staff, who are low-level nurses or technicians, lack sufficient professional knowledge and dissemination skills on such problems as cancer screening and prevention.

According to Nguyen Trai Hospital, which is responsible for offering guidance to health clinics in communes and wards,only 28 of 322 wards and communes have sufficient skills to carry out the national healthcare targets.

Most of the clinics are unable to treat patients with severe hypertension, and they lack sufficient machines, drugs and funds.

Many local patients said they did not trust the clinics' treatment methods for severe hypertension.

According to the HCM City Oncology Hospital, which is responsible for guiding the city's cancer prevention programme, residents need more information about cancer, particularly breast, lung and liver.

The Oncology Hospital plans to improve professional knowledge and dissemination skills for health clinic staff by providing training courses and documents to staff this year.

Dr Nguyen Huu Hung, the Health Department's deputy head, said this effort was part of the city's overall initiative to improve staff capacity.

Other representatives suggested that the city allocate funds to develop a network of people to help clinic staff carry out the national target healthcare programmes. Training will be offered as well.

With such assistance, each commune and ward would be able to implement the targets more effectively.

There are 29,292 personnel working at the city's health facilities, including 2,003 at communes and wards. — VNS


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