Municipal authorities here plan to increase investment in technology and training to improve the quality of local hospitals and health care centres.
Nguyen The Dung, director of the HCM City Health Department said the city will begin a campaign to aggressively raise funds from different sources including taking loans. Dung pointed to a recently built cancer treatment centre as an example of the city’s commitment to modernising local health facilities.
The centre, built at a cost of 100 billion dong (US$6.3 million) offers a quality of care comparable with the best hospitals in the region, said Nguyen Thanh Tai deputy chair of the HCM City People’s Committee.
Dung stressed that facilities alone would not improve health care and the government needs to invest more in the education and training of physicians and other health care professionals.
He said five city hospitals have started a project to build a 42 hectare hi-tech health care centre in Binh Tan District The new centre will cost an estimated 400 billion dong (US$25.3 million).
Cu Chi Commune authorities have announced a plan to build medical schools and research institutions across a l00 hectare area to train medical workers and treat patients, Dung said.
He said the facility would be the biggest of its kind in Southeast Asia and is part of a city approved strategy towards improving health care on the outskirts of the city.
Since the introduction of non-state-owned health service providers in the 1990s, HCM City’s health sector has consistently grown with the building of 18 private hospitals, 30 general clinics (including foreign-invested clinics) and 5,406 specialised clinics.
These private hospitals and clinics have eased some of the burden of the city’s overwhelmed state-run hospitals. Many private hospitals and clinics specialise in specific treatments including the International Obstetric Hospital and the Vietnam-South Korea Ophthalmologic Hospital.
Annual investment in the city’s health sector increased 15% over by 2004, local authorities said.
Nguyen Thanh Hai, chair of the HCM City People’s Committee said the government needed to offer special incentives to attract investment in hospitals and ensure the health of the city’s residents and visitors.