HCM City sets up task force to tackle multiple health challenges

July 19, 2022 - 07:50
The HCM City health sector has set up a task force to deal with multiple challenges it faces, such as the fight against both COVID and dengue disease, and shortages of medicines, equipment and medical staff.


A child patient hospitalised in HCM City due to dengue fever. The city's health sector has set up a task force to deal with the multiple challenges it faces. VNA/VNS Photo 

HCM CITY — The HCM City health sector has set up a task force to deal with multiple challenges it faces, such as the fight against both COVID and dengue disease, and shortages of medicines, equipment and medical staff.

Prof. Dr. Tăng Chí Thượng, director of the municipal Health Department, said the health sector is preparing to deal with a series of hurdles, including the continued fight against both COVID-19 and dengue diseases.

It has proposed that the People’s Committee allocate more funds for buying and stocking up on rare medicines.

Drug and treatment councils at hospitals need to update treatment regimens and lists of drugs that need to be procured for medical examination and treatment, he added.

The city continues pushing for higher third and fourth COVID vaccination rates and organising mobile vaccination centres for people vulnerable to the disease.

It will extend the booster vaccination campaign until the end of the month. People can get the shots every day, including Saturday and Sunday.

It has ordered city districts to be ready to reopen field hospitals in case of a COVID resurgence. 

The city is also focusing on eliminating mosquitos to prevent dengue.

It has run an app called “Online Health” for residents to report to the department any areas in the community at risk of dengue fever.

Residents can take photos, record video clips, and text to the department via the app to provide information about specific venues where there are too many mosquitoes.

The city is ready to activate a treatment system capable of responding to 2,000 to 6,000 cases of dengue.

To deal with a shortage of drugs and medical supplies, the department has sought permission to establish an agency to purchase medicines and medical equipment for public hospitals, which is expected to go into operation this month.

While waiting for the establishment of the agency, the department has required medical facilities to ensure the supply of drugs and medical equipment for patients by using medical supplies and equipment allocated from disbanded field hospitals.

The department has also sought permission from the Health Ministry to strengthen the autonomous operation of hospitals in accordance with Decree 60/202, which stipulates the financial autonomy of public units.

Innovation eco-systems

The department has lately signed an agreement with the Department of Science and Technology to create healthcare innovation eco-systems, with a focus on strengthening the grassroots system.

The partnership also aims to mobilise resources to create new technological solutions and innovations to improve the healthcare system and public health management.

It will seek to enhance primary healthcare facilities.

Thượng, director of the Health Department, said that to improve the capacity of the healthcare system, the city will call for more investment in infrastructure, medical equipment and training.

As for the personnel shortages, the city will adopt policies to attract and retain medical workers, and expand its network of community health workers.

“Community health workers are vital to the city’s fight against COVID as they raise awareness of preventive measures in the communities and help local authorities keep track of COVID risks,” Thượng said.

The city health sector is struggling to fight against both COVID and dengue diseases at the same time.

It is running out of certain rare medicines which had been temporarily discontinued in other countries.

More than 9,000 public medical workers have left their positions in the past 18 months due to the stress caused by the last outbreak and extremely low salaries.

In HCM City, 2,028 people have quit since early 2021, including more than 470 doctors and 1,000 nurses, accounting for 5 per cent of the city’s medical workforce. — VNS