Tuesday , July 16 2024

Việt Nam’s health sector paves the way for quality and affordable medications


Deputy Prime Minister Lê Minh Khái delivers a speech at the conference reviewing the health sector’s activities of 2024 and outlining tasks for 2024. VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI – The health sector needs to implement the national strategy for advancing Việt Nam’s pharmaceutical industry by 2030, with a vision toward 2045, to guarantee prompt access to quality, safe and effective medications at reasonable cost, and fostering the national pharmaceutical industry to be on par with advanced countries in the region.

Deputy Prime Minister Lê Minh Khái issued directives on Tuesday at the conference reviewing the health sector’s activities of 2023 and outlining the tasks for 2024.

According to the report presented by Minister of Health Đào Hồng Lan, in 2023, the health sector successfully achieved all three major socio-economic targets assigned by the National Assembly. These included surpassing the target of having 12.5 doctors per ten thousand people, achieving the target of 32 hospital beds per ten thousand people, and reaching 93.2 per cent of the population participating in health insurance.

Regular healthcare activities met basic needs, and remote medical examination and treatment were enhanced. The quality of healthcare services was improved and efforts were made to perfect the institutional framework to address the immediate and long-term issues and shortcomings in the health sector.


Minister of Health Đào Hồng Lan presents a report at the conference. VNA/VNS Photo

Lan said the health sector had proposed the National Assembly to pass amendments to the Law on Medical Examination and Treatment and two resolutions. The Ministry of Health issued 34 circulars within its authority.

She stressed the significant progress in administrative procedure reform and digital transformation. All healthcare facilities nationwide implemented healthcare services for health insurance holders using chip-embedded citizen ID cards and offer non-cash payment services. All eligible administrative procedures were available for online public services throughout the entire process.

However, Lan also pointed out limitations, including an inadequate legal document system, shortages of medicines and medical equipment in certain localities, and deficiencies in the domestic pharmaceutical and medical equipment manufacturing industry.

Speaking at the conference, Deputy PM Khái stated that Việt Nam is increasingly gaining recognition on the global health map. Việt Nam has autonomously produced nine out of 11 vaccine types for the expanded immunisation programme, and the country is one of the developing countries with the fastest reduction in maternal and child mortality rates worldwide.

The healthcare sector successfully prevented and controlled various dangerous epidemics, addressing outbreaks of diseases such as mumps, polio and plague. Việt Nam was among the first countries to successfully control newly emerging dangerous infectious diseases like SARS and avian flu A/H7N9.

Particularly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) acknowledged Việt Nam as a reference model in aspects of preventing and combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Furthermore, the healthcare sector consistently advances medical breakthroughs, applies high-end technologies, and performs complex techniques such as organ transplants, endoscopy and robotic surgeries, he said.

Reviewing the year 2023, Deputy PM Khái emphasised that the healthcare sector faced numerous difficulties and challenges. Disrupted supply chains, including medicines and medical equipment, posed challenges. Natural disasters, climate change, environmental pollution and food safety concerns increased the burden of non-communicable diseases while infectious diseases remained a high risk.

Looking ahead in 2024, Deputy PM Khái stressed the need for the healthcare sector to strengthen the construction and improvement of healthcare institutions, mechanisms and policies. There should be a focus on addressing shortages of medicines and medical supplies while efficiently controlling diseases and enhancing the quality of healthcare services at all levels.

He also mentioned expanding health insurance coverage to reach 95 per cent of the population by 2025. The health sector needed to adjust health insurance premiums based on the roadmap of adjusting healthcare service prices, the healthcare needs of the people, and the socio-economic development of the country.

Investing in the capacity of the healthcare system, especially grassroots and preventive healthcare, was essential, he said, adding that streamlining and reorganising the units was also part of the plan.

Deputy PM Khái urged the ministry to comprehensively address existing issues, improve equipment procurement, and prepare human resources to put into operation the Việt Nam-Germany Hospital and Bạch Mai No. 2 Hospital in Hà Nam Province.

He also stated that the healthcare sector needed to focus on improving the quality of healthcare human resources, study and propose appropriate policies and incentives for healthcare professionals within the overall salary reform.

He also highlighted the importance of intensifying the implementation of the national development strategy for the pharmaceutical industry. This included investing in the development of generic drug production, ensuring quality and reasonable prices, and gradually replacing imported drugs.

The sector should also research and build a comprehensive policy framework for population issues, contributing to extending and leveraging the opportunities of the golden population structure period. This involves summarising the five-year implementation of the Việt Nam Population Development Strategy, aligning with the issuance of the National Policy Framework to address the population ageing issue, he said. – VNS

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