Vietnam seeks solutions achieve Universal Healthcare Coverage by 2030

May 17, 2019 | 08:00
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Vietnam and international partners gathered the first-ever Primary Healthcare Partnership Dialogue on May 16 to discuss ways to strengthen primary healthcare as the foundation to achieve universal healthcare coverage by 2030.
vietnam seeks solutions achieve universal healthcare coverage by 2030
Vietnam and international partners at Primary Healthcare Partnership Dialogue

The event, jointly held by the Vietnamese Ministry of Health (MoH), the World Economic Forum (WEF), Harvard Medical School Centre for Primary Care, and Novartis, attracted the participation of over 150 international and domestic delegates, showing how important public-private partnership (PPP) is for the healthcare sector.

“The healthcare sector encourages domestic private and foreign investors to join PPP projects. At present, we are working on a circular to guide the implementation of PPP projects. The circular is expected to come out within this year,” Nguyen Truong Son, Deputy Minister of Health, told VIR.

During the event, participants shared the challenges and opportunities around primary healthcare transformation and the person-journey through accessing primary healthcare, with a focus on MoH-driven initiatives, projects, and investments. It also obtained consensus from the MOH as well as development and private sector/industry partners on a shared vision for primary healthcare transformation in Vietnam, and facilitated the discussion between the government, the academia, development and private sector/industry partners on how to best contribute to and invest in the shared vision for primary healthcare transformation in Vietnam.

Committed partners reached a consensus on the creation of a major PPP initiative and the formation of the Working Group for Primary Healthcare Transformation, which would be under the existing Health Partnership Group mechanism. The working group, which consists of the Vietnamese government, WEF, Harvard Medical School, and Novartis, will develop an innovative PPP project to help Vietnam reach its universal healthcare coverage goal by 2030 by leveraging the various partners’ experiences, investments, and expertise to strengthen the existing pilot programmes by the MoH in creating a new comprehensive primary care model across the country.

Vietnam has been steadily developing its healthcare system. Nearly ninety per cent of the population now possess health insurance, protecting them against the kind of catastrophic health expenditure which ruins families. According to the latest Global Monitoring Report on universal healthcare coverage, published jointly by the World Health Organization and the World Bank, 97 per cent of Vietnamese children receive standard immunisations – a higher percentage than in most high-income countries.

Improving people’s health is critical to human welfare and will lead to continued social and economic development. The majority of ASEAN governments have prioritised healthcare, resulting in significant improvements in patient outcomes and population health. The Vietnamese government has met almost all Millennium Development Goals and it has made impressive strides to achieve universal healthcare coverage. Remaining challenges include further increasing coverage, strengthening primary healthcare, reducing under-the-table payments and increasing the efficiency of healthcare delivery.

If these issues are addressed, Vietnam could become an example for the wider region and the world. To rise to this challenge, Vietnam recognises the power of PPP to achieve universal healthcare coverage by 2030 through strengthening primary healthcare. This approach will ensure equitable access to high-quality services and products to the population, allowing Vietnam to sustain its strong socioeconomic growth.

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By Bich Thuy

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