Vietnam affirms commitment in securing universal health coverage amid COVID-19

Monday, 2020-09-14 16:12:52
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Deputy Minister of Health Truong Quoc Cuong (C) shares Vietnam's experience in responding to COVID-19 and improving universal health care at the Health Ministers Meeting on Universal Health Coverage in Asia and the Pacific, held virtually on September 14, 2020. (Photo: Tran Minh/Ministry of Health)
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NDO – Through its COVID-19 response, Vietnam is committed to the highest level to securing adequate funds for universal health coverage (UHC), a senior health official has affirmed.

Speaking during a discussion at the Health Ministers Meeting on Universal Health Coverage in Asia and the Pacific, held online on September 14, Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Truong Quoc Cuong said that over the past decade, Vietnam has made remarkable progress in UHC.

The country continues to invest in improving the preparedness, responsiveness and sustainability of its health system, keeping State budget spending on health in comparison to the total expenditure at 7-8% annually, with about 89% of the population covered by health insurance.

Through the COVID-19 response, Vietnam is committed to the highest level to securing adequate funds for UHC, Cuong stated, adding that the first national COVID-19 response plan issued on January 20 has been continuously updated from both the central and local budgets as well as the health insurance fund.

A strong budgetary system and related strategies, along with preventive funds throughout the central and local levels, has helped Vietnam respond effectively to COVID-19. The country has also acted smoothly to ensure access to COVID-19 related services for all citizens, with the principle of removing financial barriers for COVID-19 patients, Cuong told the discussion.

While the COVID-19 pandemic remains a challenge for all, Vietnam sees it as an opportunity to accelerate reforms in the health sector, the Vietnamese official said, affirming that the country continues to improve public health and the grassroots health system in order to provide quality health services to the people amid COVID-19.

The Health Ministers Meeting on Universal Health Coverage in Asia and the Pacific was held online on September 14, 2020. (Photo: Tran Minh/Ministry of Health)

He added that Vietnam is working towards revising the Law on Health Insurance and the Law on Examination and Treatment with more emphasis on efficiency and digital healthcare, such as promoting telemedicine with a personal e-medical record system deployed in all medical facilities, as well as applying remote medical examination and treatment to mobilise leading medical experts to assist in the treatment of COVID-19 patients, in addition to distance training on COVID-19 responsiveness.

Deputy Minister Cuong said that with strong leadership, multidisciplinary coordination and the participation of the entire society, Vietnam took early action in responding to the pandemic through the National Steering Committee’s operation along with the strong commitment and coordination of local authorities. Despite successfully controlling the outbreak in Da Nang, Vietnam continues to promote of the motto of "coping with COVID-19 like fighting against enemy".

He also suggested the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other development agencies play an important role in facilitating access to possible COVID-19 vaccines to all countries around the world, while calling on developed countries and international organisations to strengthen the health capacity of poor and middle-income countries.

Hosted by the WHO and the Asian Development Bank, the event offered an opportunity to experts and health officials from member countries to discuss solutions and share experiences as well as to increase financial mobilisation for UHC amid the prevalence of COVID-19.