|Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính (right) presents the decision to assign Đào Hồng Lan as Acting Minister of Health on Friday. VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Đào Hồng Lan, former Secretary of Bắc Ninh Party Committee, will serve as the Acting Minister of Health, as the former minister is under arrest for his role in COVID-19 test price gouging.
The appointment was announced by the Politburo and the Government on Friday at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Health’s headquarters in Hà Nội, with the attendance of Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính, Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam and Minister of Home Affairs Phạm Thị Thanh Trà, as well as representatives of Bắc Ninh Province.
Lan, born in 1971 in the northern province of Hải Dương, has a master’s degree in economics and is currently a member of the Central Party Committee. She used to serve as Deputy Director of the Social Insurance Department at the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), Deputy Chief and then Chief of the MoLISA Office, Deputy Minister of the MoLISA, Vice Secretary of the Bắc Ninh Province's Party Committee in the 2015-20 tenure and served as Party Secretary of Bắc Ninh Province for the 2020-25 tenure from July 2021, with a separate decision issued on Thursday by the Politburo removing her from this post.
The Government leader in the ceremony said Lan is a capable official who has excelled in the many positions she has occupied at both a local and central level.
He trusts that the new health leader will utilise her strengths and capacity, together with the health ministry’s cadres, workers and staff, to overcome challenges and successfully carry out all assigned tasks, PM Chính said.
The health sector has made great efforts and showed unyielding spirit in the face of COVID-19 over the past two years, which has made significant contributions to the socio-economic recovery achievements that the country is seeing now as pandemic is under control.
He urged the health sector to focus on maintaining solidarity and keeping up integrity, bringing more attention to consolidation of leadership as well as personnel training and capacity raising efforts.
The health sector is also asked with closely following COVID-19 developments in the world, especially the emergence of new variants, and continuing to push the vaccination campaign, PM Chính said, adding that the new minister should be more “resolute” in directing the inoculation efforts in the face of “currently unsatisfactory vaccination progress”.
The Government leader also wants more attention to address bottlenecks in procurement of medical items and drugs to ensure sufficiency and meet people’s demands, raising preventive medicine capacity, and getting more quality healthcare workers at all levels.
In her remarks, the new acting health minister Lan recalled her experience of the COVID-19 outbreak in Bắc Ninh in 2021.
“I do not come from a healthcare background. Taking on this role, everything is new to me, but with responsibility to the Party, the public, and the 500,000 people in the health sector, I will do my best, maintaining the devotion of generations of doctors, mobilising the wisdom of the whole sector, implementing solutions to overcome immediate difficulties and for the long-term development of the sector,” she said.
Her predecessor, former minister Nguyễn Thành Long, is currently under investigation for mismanagement and facilitating medical firm Việt Á to overstate the prices of COVID-19 test kits. The scandal has led to the arrest of nearly 70 people, mostly health officials, from across the country. This case has also resulted in a shortage of drugs and medical equipment in State facilities as the procurement agencies are fearful of wrongdoings. — VNS