NGHE AN (VNS) — The health system in the central province of Nghe An lacks both equipment and manpower, according to health experts.
The mountainous Tuong Duong District has 18 commune medical stations, but most of them have been downgraded and lack necessary equipment," said Pham Quoc Duong, director of the Tuong Duong Medical Station. "So there are many difficulties in carrying out health examinations and treating people."
About 67,000 residents have registered for health checks at medical stations in communes and towns.
"There are too many people for the amount of infrastructure," Duong said.
For instance, at Xa Luong Commune Medical Station, which is five kilometres from the district centre, buildings are rundown, electricity often does not work and there is little or no water.
If medical workers need clean water to wash their hands, they must take it from a stream, said Duong.
Hun Vi Truong, a doctor at the Quy Chau District Medical Station, said that medical equipment was issued so long time ago and it rarely worked.
Some of it was forgotten and covered with dust, he said.
Nguyen Xuan Phong, director at the Ky Son District Medical Station, said that in the past, the station rotated doctors to commune medical stations, especially in remote communes where they were desperately needed.
But many doctors and nurses did not like working in villages and quit their jobs to work at private medical stations and hospitals, he said.
Bui Dinh Long, director of the Nghe An Department of Health, said that the province lacked doctors, but attracting good students from medical universities was difficult.
Although the provinces offered special policies to attract professional staff, such as an allowance of VND15-50 million (US$700-2,300) for doctors, but few of them accepted the offer, preferring to work in big provinces and cities.
Sending doctors to advanced training courses also left medical stations with a serious shortage of medical staff, he said.
The department will now consider rotating doctors from provincial hospitals to work in outlying districts and communes.
It will also offer short training courses to doctors at commune medical stations to raise their professional skills.
"In the long term, little is expected to change," said Long. — VNS