Deputy PM Dam urges facilitation of primary healthcare for all

Monday, 2017-03-13 04:39:18
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Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam speaks during the working session on March 12 with Bac Giang authorities on the piloting of individual health management for each citizen. (Credit: VGP)
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NDO – Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has stressed that the most important thing in health management and treatment is not the formation of electronic records but ensuring that all citizens receive primary medical check-ups, consultations and treatment, especially the disadvantaged and those who have never received medical examination.

The deputy PM held a working session on March 12 with local authorities in the northern province of Bac Giang on health management and treatment for local people.

Reporting to the government official at the meeting, Director of Bac Giang Health Department Ong The Vien said that all 230 health stations in Bac Giang are linked up via a computer network to make daily payments with relevant health insurance agencies, as well as are equipped with ultrasound machines. Some stations are also equipped with biochemical testers and electrocardiographs.

There are 203 clinics assigned to manage and treat outpatients, in addition to providing monthly medication for nearly 10,000 people with hypertension. Along with that, the province has piloted the management of diabetic patients at the commune level with six stations established in 2016; the figure is projected to increase to 15 in 2017. In addition, all 230 health stations have organised management of drug distribution for epileptic and psychiatric patients.

Currently, the rate of people using commune-level health services is at 0.9-0.92 visits/person/year. All local health stations have made a list of health check-ups for 80-year-olds and older patients, while organising health check-ups at least once a year. The vaccination rate has reached over 98% and 100% of pregnant women are being properly cared for.

The key difficulty to communal healthcare in Bac Giang is mainly limited funding for primary care, at only about VND18 million. Meanwhile, the health insurance fund for communal health clinics is still low, hindering development and the quality of health services provided to local people.

At the meeting, leaders of Bac Giang province proposed to immediately implement health management for each citizen, firstly Bac Giang City and one district.

Secretary of the Bac Giang Party Committee Bui Van Hai affirmed that the establishment of e-health books for each citizen would certainly save time and money for them when visiting hospitals, but it was necessary to carefully consider initial indicators so that when the records were completed, they must be used effectively, making full use of IT advantages.

Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam visits Minh Duc Commune Medical Station in Viet Yen District. (Credit: VGP)

Speaking at the working session, Deputy PM Dam expressed his support to Bac Giang's proposal to conduct periodical medical consultation and counseling, as well as primary healthcare for its local people. He suggested the province refer to experiences and practices in Bac Ninh and Phu Tho, while making clear the two things when implementing healthcare plan for each person, including periodic screening and establishing electronic health records.

Specifically, the creation of medical records is the work of State management agencies and must be carried out very carefully with long-term and complex technical solutions to handle mass data, including test results, diagnostic imaging and disease treatment progress.

"But for the people, especially the disadvantaged and those who have never been examined, the main concern is to be promptly examined, screened and diagnosed for early treatment rather than just undergoing medical examination and treatment only when the disease is already rampant and showing clear symptoms. The first thing they need to examine is their basic health indicators such as blood type, overall ultrasound and clinical examination" the deputy PM said.

According to him, in many communal health stations, patients with chronic diseases, such as hypertension and cardiovascular diseases that account for 70% of total medical expenses, still had to go to hospitals to receive medicine and periodical examination, instead of communal health stations.

Over the last ten years, Bac Giang has assigned communal health stations to manage patients with high blood pressure but this model is yet to have been replicated on the national scale. Deputy PM Dam also stressed that people, especially the poor, always expect to have a doctor at the local level to offer medical examination, consultation and healthcare for them from the beginning.

Earlier the same day, Deputy PM Dam visited Minh Duc Commune Medical Station in Viet Yen District.