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Island healthcare needs more funds

Update: June, 19/2014 - 09:42
Hospital in the island district of Phu Quoc. — Photo daophuquoc

HA NOI (VNS) — The National Steering Committee for Sea and Island Healthcare has proposed the Government allocate more funding to invest in health sector infrastructure and equipment for 11 island-based hospitals.

The committee requested priority to be given to investing in sea and land-based emergency vehicles to transport patients to mainland hospitals.

Health centres along coastal communes would also be upgraded to meet the national criteria, the report said.

Head of the committee and Minister of Health, Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said the project to improve healthcare services on the islands comprised of two phases.

In the first phase of 2013-15, the Health Ministry and the Ministry of National Defence would complete surveys on healthcare facilities, doctors, health staff and the health demands of people in remote areas only reachable by sea.

The ministry was preparing for emergency cases that would require sea transport and administering first aid when needed, she said.

The second phase would last between 2016 and 2020.

Nguyen Nam Lien, deputy head of the ministry's Department of Planning and Finance said the training of health staff at the nation's islands had been much improved.

As many as 60 doctors have been trained in maritime medicine, while 100 divers have been trained in safe diving in the North East sea area. Thousands of fishermen have also been trained in administering first aid.

More than 1,640 patients have received timely first aid, 32,070 others have been given treatment and 758 have received surgery. Five helicopters have also been mobilised to transport patients to mainland hospitals.

Lien said many health facilities located in coastal communes were inadequately equipped and not meeting national standards. The healthcare services were not operating effectively, especially during the stormy seasons.

The committee has also asked the Government to develop a policy to give allowances to health staff at islands and supply enough drugs to ships to deliver first aid. — VNS

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