A project to develop healthcare in coastal and island areas between now and 2020 was launched in Hanoi on April 24 to ensure that all people living in these areas can access health services.

Addressing the launch ceremony, which drew 250 delegates, Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said the capacity of health centres and hospitals in these regions is limited. Healthcare services, especially high-tech and specialised services, have yet reached people and soldiers in these areas.

Since 1991, healthcare activities for people and soldiers in coastal and island areas have been jointly implemented by local people and the armed forces, Tien said. However, they have not proved to be effective due to improper social and investment policies, she added.

According to the minister, population growth together with sea-based development, changeable weather and the task of national defence are all challenges the health sector faces when protecting and caring for people and soldiers in coastal and island areas.

The project, which has been approved by the Prime Minister, will be implemented across 151 districts and towns in 28 centrally-run coastal cities and provinces between now and 2020 at a total cost of 8.2 trillion VND.

It will also consolidate the health care network, strengthen first-aid provisions, provide information for local people so that they can protect their own health, and fully implement international regulations on ensuring healthcare at sea .

Under the project, four emergency centres, six hospitals and one hospital boat will be built.-VNA