|A medical station in HCM City’s Bình Thạnh District. The city is seeking over VNĐ6.5 trillion from the Government to improve its healthcare system. — Photo nld.com.vn
HCM CITY — HCM City has sought over VNĐ6.5 trillion (US$284.48 million) from the Government to improve district- and commune-level healthcare facilities.
It said it needs over VNĐ4.5 trillion to upgrade three general hospitals at Hóc Môn and Củ Chi districts and Thủ Đức City, and the remaining VNĐ2 trillion would be used to upgrade the HCM City Centre for Disease Control (HCDC), build new district- and ward-level health facilities and upgrade existing ones.
The city had sought a similar amount in January, but was only allotted VNĐ586 billion to spend on 41 communes and wards out of its 312 and the HCDC, and so it has petitioned afresh.
The fourth COVID wave has revealed many weaknesses in its healthcare system in terms of human resources, infrastructure and equipment, it said in its request.
Hospitals are frequently overloaded since the healthcare system has to handle over 30 million patients year, half from nearby provinces, it said.
It is working on improving healthcare including by paying medical staff more to incentivise them.
The city has 110 hospitals with nearly 34,400 beds, but most do not meet the national criteria of floor area per hospital bed of 80-90 square metres.
It is seeing an expected spike in the COVID caseload after the Tết holidays as people returned from across the country to work and students in almost all grades went back at school.
It recorded 1,451 new cases on February 23, the highest this year.
Nguyễn Văn Nên, secretary of the city Party Committee, said however that the number of severe cases and deaths remain low.
The city is now focusing on tackling the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19, which is currently the dominant strain. — VNS