Health minister attends ASEAN Health Ministers’ Meeting in Cambodia

August 29, 2019 - 20:25

She said Việt Nam has faced numerous challenges, like high public spending on healthcare, standing at 40 per cent.

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SIEM RIEP — Vietnamese Minister of Health Nguyễn Thị Kim Tiến has pledged Việt Nam’s commitment to implementing 2030 Sustainable Development Goals which aim at universal healthcare coverage while attending a meeting in Cambodia.

Tiến led the Vietnamese health ministry’s delegation to attend the 14th ASEAN Health Ministers and related meetings in Siem Riep on Thursday and Friday.

Addressing the plenary session themed 'Accelerating health for all in ASEAN' on Thursday afternoon, she said Việt Nam has faced numerous challenges, like high public spending on healthcare, standing at 40 per cent. Resources are mainly invested in treatment rather than prevention and public healthcare.

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Disadvantaged groups, especially those from ethnic groups and poor mountainous areas, lack access to high-quality medical facilities. There is a gap of healthcare quality between urban and rural areas.

She highlighted 10 healthcare improvement policies of Việt Nam to enhance healthcare efficiency to provide better healthcare services.

Minister Tiến  holds talks with Minister of Health from Malaysia.

The policies include strengthening capacity of grassroots healthcare facilities, focusing on disease prevention; the Government’s financial assistance on medical expenses; reducing medicine prices through centralised drug bidding; and encouraging the use of domestically-manufactured medicine.

“According to the Universal Healthcare Coverage report of World Health Organisation and World Bank in 2017, Việt Nam scored 73 out of 100. The average score of Southeast Asia is 59 and of the world is 64,” she said.

The Government has fully covered health insurance for disadvantaged groups and offered assistance of 70 per cent for people classified as near-poor, she told the meeting.

At the meeting, ministers agreed the establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Aging and Innovation will actively support aging policies and co-operation among ASEAN countries.

The health ministers also reiterated commitments to accelerate action to prevent and control non-infectious diseases; strengthen collaboration on the prevention and control of infectious, emerging diseases and support the idea of one ASEAN in responding to and controlling health disasters.

Earlier Tiến attended a  meeting on the efforts of ASEAN in fighting counterfeit and substandard drugs.

Online drug sales are becoming more popular and easier for the public to access. Meanwhile, legal documents on related issues are not complete or caught up with the development of society and technology, she said.

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Việt Nam has ensured transparency of medicine quality management system, she said, urging drug management agencies of ASEAN countries to step up collaboration on sharing medicine’s information.

On the sidelines of the 14th ASEAN Health Ministers Meeting, Minister Tiến had bilateral meetings with her counterparts from Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Dr Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific. — VNS