|Samples are taken for testing in Thanh Hoá Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Nam
Minister of Health Nguyễn Thanh Long told Sức khoẻ & Đời sống (Health & Life) online newspaper that in 2022, the health sector will continue to implement measures to prevent and control the COVID-19 pandemic, while also focusing on reforming and renovating the sector’s financial mechanism, and improving grassroots healthcare and preventive medicine.
What is the strategy for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as experts, the COVID-19 pandemic will not end before 2023, so pandemic prevention and control measures still need to be conducted properly and considered as a top priority, and an immediate and important task of the health sector in 2022.
Regarding anti-pandemic strategy, we will continue with the spirit of Resolution 128 of the Government which is "Safely adapting, flexibly and effectively controlling the COVID-19 pandemic", which focuses on the following basic issues:
Firstly, we will continue to increase vaccine coverage, especially administering third dose for those over 18 years old; ensure vaccination for children from 12-18 years old and prepare to vaccinate children from 5-12 years old.
In the past, following the direction of the Government and the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Health has been very cautious and has comprehensively, scientifically and objectively assessed vaccination against COVID-19 for children aged 5-12 years old.
The Ministry of Health closely exchanges and regularly consults with WHO, scientists and learns from implementation experiences of countries around the world. So far, WHO has officially licensed Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to be administered to children aged 5 to under 12 years.
Currently, more than 37 countries and territories have planned and implemented the task. Some countries vaccinate all children, some countries vaccinate high-risk children.
At the same time, the ministry also closely follows information about which vaccines are given to children in this age group, what reactions may occur.
In addition, the Ministry of Health also negotiates with partners and suppliers to ensure the supply of this vaccine.
We will take steps to ensure first and foremost the safety of vaccinations.
Secondly, we will continue to implement public health measures such as the 5K message, in which wearing a mask is one of the important solutions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Thirdly, we will work on strengthening the capacity of the health system, especially the capacity to respond to serious cases, in all contexts and circumstances.
In the past two years, medical staff have made huge sacrifices for pandemic prevention, but the remuneration is not satisfactory. So what recommendations will the Ministry of Health have, especially for grassroots health care, so that they can work with peace of mind?
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health sector are huge, affecting both income and policies for health workers.
In the past, the Ministry of Health has coordinated with relevant ministries, branches and agencies to submit proposals to the Government so that we can increase the allowance and remuneration for medical staff when they have to serve on the frontline.
Long-term remuneration policy is a very important issue. The Ministry of Health has coordinated with ministries, branches and agencies to report to authorities in order to have supporting policies, especially for grassroots healthcare and preventive medicine.
The authorities have agreed to increase the allowance for preventive medicine and grassroots health workers up to 100 per cent of the current salary level.
In 2022, the Ministry of Health will also continue to reform and renovate financial mechanisms, in the direction of more support for grassroots healthcare and preventive medicine to ensure improved quality of medical examination and treatment, and increase the income of medical staff.
The theme raised by the Government for 2022 is “unity and discipline”. How will the healthcare sector implement this?
The health sector will focus on developing legislation, submitting draft laws to the National Assembly such as the revised draft law on medical examination and treatment, the amended Health Insurance Law, the amended Pharmacy Law and Medical Device Law.
The ministry will also continue to perfect legal documents to guide and strengthen the sector's management, at the same time strengthening discipline, tightening management on licensing, quality management, procurement of drugs and medical equipment, ensuring publicity and transparency, in accordance with the law. We will work to strictly prohibit group interests in public procurement. — VNS