WHO to help Vietnam expand universal health coverage

15:11 | 23/07/2020 Cooperation

Universal health coverage expansion has become a priority for medical cooperation between Vietnam’s Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO).

In recent years, the WHO has been assisting Vietnam in improving its health system’s capacity and efficiency. The cooperative program helped the Vietnamese health sector effectively implement its 2011-2020 public health improvement strategy, with a vision to 2030 in accordance with Prime Ministerial Decision 122/QD-TTg.

who to help vietnam expand universal health coverage
Former Vietnamese Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien (middle) met with Tereza Kasaeva, Director of the Global Tuberculosis Program at the World Health Organization (third from right) in Geneva, Switzerland

Specifically, the program provided technical assistance, implemented policy dialogues, inter-sector cooperation, and operation monitoring and evaluation for vaccinations and diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

The program also supported the implementation of a national strategy for the prevention and control of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchial asthma and other non-communicable diseases; and helped efficiently control epidemics through technical assistance, legal documents, supervision and response.

After achieving success in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the WHO and the Vietnamese Ministry of Health continued their cooperation from January 2018 to December 2019 with a total committed budget of US$21 million (VND489 billion).

Equal access

The Ministry of Health and the WHO worked together to improve the capacity of Vietnam’s health system to ensure quality and equal access to health services for all, especially the poor and vulnerable groups, control infectious and non-communicable diseases, as well as other threats to public health, provide quality medical services at the grassroots level, improve the efficiency of health financing, increase regulations on pharmaceuticals, vaccines and medical products, and ensure better access to essential medicines and medical technology.

who to help vietnam expand universal health coverage
Cooperation helps improve public health

While the 2018-2019 health program obtained encouraging achievements, Vietnam is still facing major challenges associated with public health care, including population aging (people aged 60 and older accounted for 10 percent of the country’s population in 2014) and the growing number of people affected by non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which accounted for an estimated 73 percent of all deaths. Other challenges include maternal mortality rate that is double in rural areas and triple the national level among ethnic minorities, climate change, unsafe water and food sources, malnutrition, and food security.

The next phase of the health cooperation program will focus on strengthening the main functions of the Ministry of Health, building capacity and sustainable national partnerships to ensure public health security.

In addition, the WHO will continue assisting the Government of Vietnam to achieve its universal health goal, which has become a government priority.

The health cooperation program between the WHO and Vietnam’s Ministry of Health implements universal health activities in accordance with the government’s plan for protection, care and improvement of people's health and the United Nations’ 2017-2021 strategic plan.

Thanh Tam