HA NOI (VNS) — Different healthcare services available at local clinics should be defined more clearly so that patients are aware of the facilities available to them. This would stop them from being referred to provincial hospitals and causing overcrowding.
Osmat Azzam, a health economist from the Luxemburg Agency for Development Co-operation, made the comment at a workshop on the basic healthcare service package (BHSP) yesterday.
As defined by the World Health Organisation, the BHSP is a minimum collection of basic health services that the public should have guaranteed access to, especially children, women and the elderly residing in the catchment areas of primary healthcare facilities.
The BHSP in Viet Nam offers services that health insurance covers.
Osmat, who has been studying healthcare in the northern mountainous provinces of Cao Bang and Bac Kan since 2009, said the BHSP there was offered at two standard levels -commune health centres and district hospitals.
"Most basic health services are delivered at district hospitals," Osmat said, noting that many services were also available at commune health centres such as immunisations and family planning.
Nguyen Kim Phuong from the WHO Viet Nam Country Office said the BHSP was crucial as few countries had enough resources to cover all the services people need.
Priority services needed to be identified in order to optimise the use of available resources and provide the maximum healthcare benefits.
She said the package could help improve equality and reduce poverty because many people were vulnerable to illness-related poverty.
Deputy director of Bac Kan Province's Health Department Hoang Van Linh said that health service costs did not stop at treatment – whether it was a trip to the drug store or a major operation – but also the income lost by those who were sufficiently unwell to be unable to work.
He said that studies on the BHSP and more understanding about financing healthcare could help mobilise and distribute resources more efficiently and effectively.
Luxemburg has been supporting healthcare for the poor in Cao Bang and Bac Kan since 2009. — VNS