Phan Lê Thu Hằng, deputy general director of the Planning and Finance Department under the Ministry of Health
Phan Lê Thu Hằng, deputy general director of the Planning and Finance Department under the Ministry of Health, talks to Vietnamplus online newspaper about improving primary healthcare.
What’s your evaluation of the communal health stations being piloted by the Ministry of Health (MoH)?
To meet the demand for developing the grassroots healthcare network, the sector is implementing a project to renovate the network nationwide.
Under the project, which has been approved by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, the MoH has been piloting family medicals plans at 26 medical stations in eight provinces and cities.
The ministry has assessed the 26 stations with a view to expanding the model.
The results show that infrastructure, human resources and management remain limited, and financial bottlenecks continue to be a problem.
These are the obstacles that we need to overcome to implement this new service model.
What measures will the MoH adopt in the future?
Based on the evaluation of the pilot commune health stations (CHS), the MoH has developed a plan to upgrade the stations and invest in medical equipment such as that used for blood glucose tests.
Regarding human resources, the ministry has set up training programmes at the 26 health stations that are to all staff. A management course has also been launched for the first time.
The health sector has updated technical guidelines related to the provision of health services such as the management of non-communicable diseases at CHS and in the community.
The MoH and health departments in the eight provinces are working hard with the health insurance agency to create favorable conditions for the payment of health insurance.
Once the infrastructure is upgraded, training has been carried out and health insurance payment issues have been resolved, we hope healthcare will be improved.
A doctor is measuring blood pressure for an old man in Bó Mười Commune’s health station in Sơn La Province’s Thuận Châu District. — VNA/VNS Photo Diệp Anh
Equipment and staff are vital to improving the effectiveness of disease management in the community. How does the MoH plan to deal with its investment in piloted stations?
Technical systems are very important factors at CHS.
The MoH and health departments are upgrading facilities at the 26 stations we are talking about.
In addition to the deployment of new medical equipment, investment is also being poured into IT to ensure the availability of computers and internet connections at CHS.
What solutions are being implemented by the MoH to strengthen the capacity of health stations?
All staff are being trained in accordance with the principle of family medicine.
Co-ordination between CHS and district levels will also be strengthened to ensure regular support for stations when needed.
Provinces are also conducting specialised training courses for CHS staff.
What challenges are facing CHS in terms of securing investment?
There have been a number of difficulties relating to financing CHS.
Firstly, investment for nearly 12,000 CHS would require huge funding.
Secondly, some localities are yet to ensure expenditures for the stations. For example, some types of healthcare services do receive the necessary amount of funding, such as the management of non-communicable diseases. These are issues that need to be settled.
To overcome these difficulties, the MoH is mobilising resources from loan and non-refundable projects to invest in CHS in disadvantaged areas.
The MoH is also working closely with the health insurance agency to solve problems involving payments and more services will gradually be added to the list of basic services covered by insurance.
With the adoption of solutions by the MoH, it is expected these financial difficulties will be resolved soon, contributing to improving capacity as well as quality of health services for the community. — VNS
The health station and a military medical station in Nậm Vì Commune, Mường Nhé District of the northern province Điện Biên handed out free medicines for local people. — VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Tiến