Healthcare system and health index in Vietnam

Ha Noi, Oct. 19 (VNA)-- Viet Nam's healthcare system has undergone great changes over the past decades. Almost non-existent just 10 years ago, Viet Nam's healthcare system now boasts a health index higher than those of other developing nations with the same per-capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Figures released at a congress in Ha Noi on Oct. 18 show that the average lifespan has risen from 38 years in 1945 to about 67 now. The national network of medical stations has expanded to almost all rural communes whereas before 1945 there were just a few hospitals in major cities.

Many other achievements, including a sharp decrease in infant mortality from 50 percent before 1945 to 36.7 per thousand last year and a surge in the number of medical wards served by nurses from 10 percent in 1985 to more than 83 percent in 1999, were reported at the event.

About 40 percent of communal infirmaries are currently run by doctors. The number of medical doctors for every 10,000 citizens was 5.1 in 1999 whereas in 1985 it was just 3.1.

With the assistance of modern equipment, Vietnamese doctors are now able to conduct kidney transplant operations, invitro fertilization, (which has helped bring 100 test-tube babies into the world), open-heart surgery and conjoined twins separations.

These achievements were attributed in part to the emulation drives that have been launched for the whole service over the past 10 years or more. The congress was itself for this purpose.

Such drives had encouraged medical personnel to work hard to improve their services for the health of the community, especially for the poor and people in remote, rural and mountainous areas, and to promote the use of traditional techniques while applying advances in global medicine, said Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem at the event.

A large number of medical workers have been rewarded for their excellent service, including 17 professors with the "People's Teacher" title, 67 medical workers with the "People's Physician" title, and 1,281 others with the "Emeritus Physician" title. Twelve units and individuals were awarded the Ho Chi Minh prize and five groups of female medical workers and female individuals, the Kovalevskaia prize.