Grassroots healthcare plays key role: Ministry hinh anh 1Healthcare at a clinic of Tam Duong district in the northern mountainous province of Lai Chau. (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Medical services at the grassroots level help save costs and ensure sustainability in healthcare, contributing to the improvement of medical service quality, according to the Ministry of Health.

However, the ministry said healthcare at the grassroots level have showed weaknesses, requiring changes to better serve people.

There are 11,162 clinics at commune, ward and town levels nationwide. The Health Ministry said that the number of medical services at commune-level clinics has met only 52.2 percent of health check-up and treatment demand. There is a shortage of basic medicines and drugs covered by health insurance at this level.

The quality of medical equipment, infrastructure and medical workers is not ensured. Patients have lost trust in medical quality at the grassroots level due to a series of medical calamities and moved to clinics or hospitals of higher level. This fact has led to overcrowd at district-level or central level healthcare facilities.

Tuan said that the country is facing double disease burden (from communicable and non-communicable diseases).

Efficiency of human resources remains low in the context of limited financial source. The humble capacity of medical service provision at the grassroots level has prevented health insurance holders to enjoy their benefits and increase healthcare costs.

“There is an increasingly widened difference in getting access to healthcare quality between regions,” he said.

In this context, improving and renewing healthcare at the grassroots level are a sustainable solution because it is the nearest system for people to get access to. The nationwide system of healthcare network at the grassroots level and equal medical quality will ensure equity, he said.

The resolution of the 6th Plenum of Communist Party of Vietnam puts focus on improving disease preventive capacity combined with healthcare facilities at the grassroots level.

By 2020, 95 percent of communal health centres, wards or towns will undertake the task of preventive medicine, health management and treatment of certain non-communicable diseases, the resolution says.

The Health Ministry has launched essential medical packages covered by health insurance, serving disease prevention and improving healthcare. This has helped people get better access to quality healthcare network at their residential areas.

The ministry also considers improving healthcare quality at the grassroots level as a key to universal healthcare coverage. Healthcare at home is an important solution to improve local medical quality. Medical workers of district-level clinics or hospitals are sent to commune-level healthcare facilities twice or three times a week and vice versa for professional exchanges.-VNA