Novartis ventures further into primary healthcare in Vietnam 

December 17, 2019 | 17:49
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Global drug giant Novartis on December 16 signed an MoU with Vietnam’s Ministry of Health on raising primary healthcare in Vietnam through activities at commune and district levels from 2019 to 2021.
novartis ventures further into primary healthcare in vietnam
The signing ceremony of the MoU on primary healthcare

This is a pioneering co-operation activity under the co-ordination framework of the newly established Working Group about Primary Health Care under Decision No.5088/QD-BYT dated October 29, 2019 by the Ministry of Health (MoH). It is a testament to public-private collaboration in this area. The primary goal is achieving Universal Healthcare Coverage and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

The MoU is to create a co-operation framework between the two parties, covering four areas: Uniting the community (through media activities, healthy lifestyle training, prevention of diseases, and general checkup,among others); effectively improving transit works (from commune to district and vice versa) and focusing on managing heart diseases; increasing generic high-quality medicine approaches to non-communicable diseases for the people; and proceeding in monitor activities and evaluation (M&E) which are integrated with the group’s activities to evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions.

The content of the MoU includes activities that support the community to practice a healthy lifestyle and improve knowledge on health protection, disease management with effective referral mechanisms, access to treatment of uncommon infection diseases, and support to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.

These activities will be implemented at the commune and district levels in the localities under the direction and co-ordination of the Ministry of Health, Ha Tinh at first and will be expanded in a number of provinces and cities under the scheme. For the implementation of effective collaboration, Novartis will mobilise expertise and resources (both economic and technological) from the organisation of the group to enhance the operational support system in the health sector in Vietnam.

Citizens will be directly benefited thanks to more and better activities to strengthen the grassroots health network of the government and the Ministry of Health, provinces and localities, with the co-operation of internal and external partners who are interested in investing in this field.

Connecting commune health stations with hospitals, district health centres, and provincial health centres and higher-level hospitals will enhance the cohesion in the health system, ensuring widespread benefits to the people. Patients will be effectively referred from higher to lower levels and with cost support, medicine will be available for the entire population. This policy will have numerous positive impacts, such as earlier care for patients and more thorough disease prevention measures.

novartis ventures further into primary healthcare in vietnam
The launching of the Working Group on Primary Healthcare

Speaking at the launching meeting for the Working Group on Primary Healthcare, Nguyen Truong Son, Deputy Minister of Health, said, “I hope that the Working Group's activities will attract more attention and active participation from domestic and foreign partners, create synergies, and diffuse impacts to strengthen the health system and primary healthcare in Vietnam.”

Roeland Roelofs, country president at Novartis Vietnam, said: “We have strong experience from more than six years of serving rural populations through our Social Business Programme 'Cùng Sống Khoẻ', and more than three years of serving urban populations in our Communities for Healthy Hearts Programme. In our view, innovation in healthcare delivery is as important as providing access to innovative medicines.”

“I’ve been impressed by the Vietnamese government not only in its progress in healthcare to date, but also by its approach to addressing remaining challenges in new ways. I believe their approach is unique and perhaps, over time, should be followed by other governments.”

The members of the Working Group which the MoH’s Planning and Finance Department and other relevant departments, organisations of the Vietnamese government, as well as three co-founders: Harvard Medical University (Primary Healthcare Center), the World Economic Forum, and Novartis Vietnam. Working Group also opens for all domestic and foreign partners wishing to invest and co-operate for primary healthcare in Vietnam, with specific terms and commitments.

In related developments, Novartis has received the certificate of eligibility for a pharmacy business from the MoH to directly import drugs to the country. As planned, the company will welcome the first batch of directly-imported pharmaceuticals soon.

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