|A health worker examines for a baby at Kinh Mon Medical Station in Hai Duong Province. Forty per cent of commune-level medical centres in Viet Nam have failed to meet national criteria for qualified grassroots healthcare. — Photo haiduong.gov.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Forty per cent of commune-level medical centres in Viet Nam have failed to meet national criteria for qualified grassroots healthcare, the Health Ministry has reported.
These medical centres are located in poor and remote areas where residents typically rely on the health services in their communities as their only method of treatment.
To meet national criteria, a commune-level medical centre must successfully build a combined model of treatment and disease prevention, and provide healthcare services to patients via insurance payments, the report said last week.
The healthcare system in Viet Nam is divided into four levels: central, provincial, district and grassroots. Grassroots health care covers commune, wards and hamlets, and it plays an important role in detecting the early signs of epidemics.
The report said there are still many problems at the commune-level health centres that need to be resolved, such as professional health-staff shortages and a lack of investment in infrastructure and facilities required for first aid and basic diagnosis.
Hoa Phu Commune health centre, located in the Tuyen Quang northern mountainous province's Chiem Hoa District, is comprised of two rows of wooden houses with metal roofs. The facilities were built in 1987, and most of the equipment at the centre is out-of-date and broken.
The centre's chief, Dr. Ha Thi Diep, said the buildings have been ravaged by heavy storms, which have damaged the roofs and walls.
The centre has one doctor, four nurses and a medicine supplier who treat about 10,000 patients a year. The only modern devices it owns are an electronic acupuncture machine and aerosol equipment, and it hasn't received new equipment for five years, Dr. Diep said.
Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said last week that the ministry had mobilised various financial sources to improve both infrastructure and staffing at grassroots health centres, but its implementation had been more difficult.
The ministry was planning a draft of grassroots health development projects supported by the World Bank, the minister said . — VNS