The 500-bed cancer hospital, the biggest of its kind in the central region and the first non-profit hospital in Vietnam, started operating in Da Nang city on January 19.

Da Nang Cancer Hospital will be funded by donations and sponsorship from the city budget, businesses, individuals and non-governmental organisations.

The hospital was built in three years and at a cost of 71.4 million USD with 220 billion VND (10.5 million USD) raised through Government bonds.

Hospital services will be free of charge for poor people with ‘underprivileged’ health insurance in Da Nang and Quang Nam province, said hospital director Trinh Luong Tran.

In addition, the hospital will offer all cancer patients nationwide a cost equal to 77 percent of the cost in Stat-owned hospitals.

Vietnam has around 150,000 cancer patients annually, of which 75,000 succumbed to the disease. The number is expected to hit 200,000 by 2020.-VNA