Illustrative photo. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved an 80-million-USD loan to help Vietnam increase the number of health professionals, the ADB announced on December 13.

The funding will be used to build and equip new campuses of the Hanoi Medical University and the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh City, increasing annual undergraduate enrollment capacity by 2,200 and producing 1,863 additional health professional graduates from 2032.

The Second Health Human Resources Development Project will further improve the quality of health professional training at each university.

A 3-million-USD grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, financed by the Government of Japan and to be administered by ADB, will support updating of training programmes to ensure graduates are better skilled to address community health needs, particularly in disadvantaged settings.

The quality of medical staff in remote health facilities will also be enhanced through the delivery of continuing medical education programmes using innovative distance learning technologies.

“The project will help Vietnam achieve its universal health coverage targets by upgrading infrastructure and boosting enrollment at two leading health education institutions,” said ADB Senior Health Specialist Gerard Servais.

The project’s focus on disadvantaged communities will help the country address the health care needs of those living in poor and remote areas, he added.

Vietnam faces a shortage of skilled health professionals, including an estimated 43,250 doctors, 249,416 nurses, and 22,199 pharmacists by 2030.

The project seeks to address major obstacles – limited physical space and outdated programs at Vietnam’s health education and professional training institutions which restrict the increase in student enrollment and subsequently the number of qualified graduates. –VNA