Thursday , June 13 2024

Deputy health minister quits

Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Truong Son, who was active in the national Covid-19 fight but was reprimanded recently due to violations at the ministry, has asked to quit.

A source of the Health Ministry said Son has filed his resignation and the government is considering the matter.

Son, 58, a HCMC native, was appointed deputy health minister four years ago while he was working as director of HCMC’s Cho Ray Hospital, arguably the largest public facility in southern Vietnam.

He is highly evaluated for his medical capabilities, especially his contributions to the development of organ transplant techniques in Vietnam.

As one of four deputy health ministers, Son supervised the Covid-19 fight in major hotspots like Da Nang in mid-2020, Bac Giang and Bac Ninh Province in northern Vietnam in early 2021 and in HCMC in late 2021.

He received an official rebuke from the Central Inspection Committee of the Communist Party in November last year for violations of the health ministry’s Drug Administration Department.

In May 2022, the committee gave him a higher punishment, a warning, for his involvement in Viet A Company’s test kit scam.

Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long was expelled from the Communist Party on Monday for his violations in the test kit scam. The National Assembly is taking steps to remove him as a delegate as well.

The Central Inspection Committee had said in March that the Party Committee and officials of the health and science ministries in the 2016-2021 term had been negligent in their management, allowing violations at the ministries and their units regarding the approval, management and sale of Covid-19 test kits.

Phan Quoc Viet, general director of Viet A, admitted in January that he had inflated the price of a Covid-19 test kit by 45 percent and sent around VND800 billion ($35.2 million) as “bonuses” to company partners. Viet said he had bribed certain individuals in this regard.

Several officials including high-ranking military generals and directors of provincial branches of the Center for Diseases Control have been arrested or placed under criminal investigation for their involvement in the case.

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