People wait for their examination and treatment procedures to be made (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The health insurance coverage will reach around 79 percent by the end of this year compared to the set target of 76 percent, Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien reported at a meeting of the National Assembly’s Committee on Social Affairs on October 8.

The Minister said the sector is also likely to surpass another NA-set target, which is the rate of hospital beds per 10,000 people this year. The rate is estimated to reach 25 beds per 10,000, while the goal is 24.5.

The sector is pushing ahead with measures to improve medical service quality, particularly reduce the overload at central-level hospitals.

According to Minister Tien, the network of satellite hospitals has been expanded across all 63 centrally-run cities and provinces, with 22 core hospitals and 98 satellites, which helped reduce the number of patients seeking treatment at central hospitals. An emulation campaign on enhancing medical staff’s services and improving hospitals’ hygiene has also brought positive outcomes.

Regarding health insurance, the minister quoted statistics as showing that 73.66 million people have joined insurance or 79.5 percent of the population.

On the other hand, the health sector is yet to address the big gap in medical service quality and health index between regions.

The NA Committee also expressed concern about outstanding problems such as the outbreaks of infectious diseases including dengue fever and hand-foot-mouth, and food safety.

The financial balance of the health insurance fund is another matter of concern, while the need for medical care is increasing.

The committee members asked the health ministry to clarify whether the raise of medical service fees will actually result in higher quality. Some pointed to the fact that payment procedures for health insurance are complicated, discouraging many from joining insurance.

The committee urged the health ministry to mobilise investment from all possible sources to expand medical services at grassroots level, including the model of family doctors.

The ministry must also continue with measures to maintain the rate of vaccination against infectious diseases at more than 90 percent of target groups, and to further improve medical service quality.-VNA