The Government plans to allocate 8.2 trillion VND (390.5 million USD) to develop healthcare facilities on the country's islands, according to the Ministry of Health.

The ministry is currently drafting a plan to outline activities through 2020.

Work is expected to begin next year on both hospitals and health clinics, said Dr Nguyen Hoang Long, deputy head of the Finance and Planning Department under the Ministry of Health at a workshop held on November 2 in Ho Chi Minh City.

He said the Government will invest in upgrading existing hospitals and build new ones to support emergency aid for the islands.

Work will be done on the Institute of Maritime Medicine in Hai Phong, Military Hospital No. 4 in Nghe An province and C Hospital in Da Nang . Hospital 87 in Nha Trang, the Medical Centre at Vung Tau Petro and Military Hospital No.78 on Phu Quoc Island will also be upgraded.

Under the plan, health clinics in island districts will be renovated and equipped with modern machines, and four new ships used as mobile health facilities for emergency aid will be built as well.

The telemedicine system in island districts will also be developed so that information can be exchanged and professional experts at reputable inland hospitals consulted.

The plan also calls for four new emergency-aid centres in Hai Phong, Da Nang , Khanh Hoa Province and Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province.

The centres will work with four existing national rescue centres to transport patients from islands to inland hospitals.

Ships will also be equipped with medicine cabinets and have necessary equipment for emergency aid, and healthcare staffs on islands will receive training to improve their skills.

To support training of island health personnel, the Government will issue more preferential policies.

According to a report from the Health Strategy and Policy Institute, only 34 percent of the total number of health centres on island districts have been rebuilt.

Many of them are in bad condition and do not have enough equipment.

Some island communes have no health clinics at all, and island district hospitals face staff shortages. They now need a total of 1,563 doctors and 265 pharmacists.-VNA