|A doctor examines for a patient in Dak Lak General Hospital. The central highland province is facing a dire shortage of medical workers affecting disease prevention and treatment. — VNA/VNS Photo Anh Tuan
DAK LAK (VNS)— The Central Highland province of Dak Lak is facing a dire shortage of medical workers affecting disease prevention and treament, said deputy director of the provincial Department of Health, Tay Nguyen.
The province now has more than 5,300 medical workers but needs about 2,000 more to meet local demand, according to the department's statistics.
"A doctor shortage is the most serious problem facing the province's health sector as many local medical students don't return to the province to work after study," he said.
Despite the province's policy efforts to attract doctors to the province, only two doctors had enrolled over four years to work in Buon Don and Ma D'rak medical stations. Many other districts such as Ea Sup, Krong Bong and Lak do not have any doctors.
The Dak Lak General Hospital has 600 sick beds serviced by around 100 doctors; 30 short of adequate staffing levels.
Since 2009, more than 50 doctors in the province have left their jobs in State-owned hospitals to work in the private sector.
At present, each doctor agreeing to work in the province will receive an allowance of VND10-30 million (US$470-1,420) depending on their qualifications and experience. They will also receive VND300,000 ($14) per month in addition to their salary.
Dak Lak General Hospital recently had invested VND10 billion ($470,000) to upgrade infrastructure and improve working conditions, however, the situation had not improved, said Nguyen.
Due to the lack of doctors, local medical stations and hospitals have only been able to treat common diseases, and transfer serious cases to more advanced hospitals. This has led to massive over-crowding in upper-level hospitals.
Nguyen suggested the Ministry of Health address the problem at the policy-level to attract more volunteer doctors to Central Highland provinces like Dak Lak.
He said the Ministry of Education and Training should do more to widen their intake of medical students from Dak Lak, to 100, and encourage them to work at the provinces. — VNS