Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — To ensure delivery of HIV treatment services, the health sector in HCM City is accelerating coverage of health insurance for HIV patients as donor funding for antiretroviral (ARV) drugs and treatment will end in a few years now that Việt Nam has reached lower middle-income status as classified by the World Bank.
The supply of ARV drugs funded by international donors is expected to be used up by the end of next year, said Nguyễn Hữu Hưng, deputy director of the city’s Department of Health.
Health insurance will have to cover the cost of ARV drugs starting in early 2019, Hưng said at a conference held on Wednesday in HCM City.
The city’s Department of Health has told medical centres in all districts to establish general clinics to provide health examinations and treatment for insured HIV patients.
However, medical centres in several districts are ineligible to establish general clinics because of a lack of specialised doctors and medical equipment.
Phạm Thị Kim Hoa, director of Cần Giờ District’s Medical Centre, said that its public health consulting and support department had long been responsible for providing free health check-ups and treatment for HIV patients.
The public health consulting and support department, however, is not eligible to sign contracts with social insurance agencies to provide health check-ups and treatment for insured HIV patients.
Therefore, the centre has to set up a general clinic which has legal rights to sign contracts with social insurance agencies, according to Hoa.
The centre said it had sought approval for setting up a general clinic, but it was refused because of it lacked specialised doctors, she said.
It plans to transfer treatment of 112 patients to Cần Giờ Hospital by the second quarter of next year.
District 1’s Medical Centre is in the same situation as it is struggling to set up a general clinic to provide health care services for HIV patients with insurance cards, said Nguyễn Văn Thể, director of the centre.
Lack of medical equipment and doctors, among other reasons, have made it impossible for the centre to establish a general clinic, according to Thể.
Around 1,200 HIV patients are being treated at District 1’s Medical Centre, he said.
Tiêu Thị Thu Vân, director of the HCM City HIV/AIDS Prevention Centre, has proposed setting up HIV-treatment clinics at district-level hospitals instead of general clinics at medical centres.
Under the proposal, district hospitals would sign contracts with social insurance agencies to provide health care services for HIV patients with health insurance cards.
More than 31,000 HIV patients in HCM City receive regular examinations and treatment at medical centres. — VNS