The Ministry of Health will maintain regular medical services during weekends and holidays, according to the Prime Minister’s recent instruction.

In addition, the Vietnam Social Insurance (VSI) has been asked to make insurance payments on these occasions.

The move aims to support those who have to work shifts and also to ease the work overload in certain hospitals.

The Prime Minister also asked the ministry and the insurance to achieve the goal of 75 percent health insurance coverage of the population by the end of 2015 and 80 percent by the end of 2020.

The focus of the universal health insurance programme is officers, non-commissioned officers, staff sergeants and professional soldiers, as well as students of universities and colleges under the ministries of defence and public security.

Students are required to have health insurance. The government will provide 70 percent of the health insurance fee for those from near-poverty-line families and 30 percent for those working in agriculture and forestry, and having average incomes.

By the end of 2014, about 71.6 percent of the country's population had health insurance, while the National Assembly's target is 75 percent.

In his instruction, the Prime Minister also asked the ministry to foster and encourage the development and production of local vaccines, so that the country could actively provide sufficient vaccines at affordable rates to meet the domestic demand.

The ministry has also been asked to study policies to foster public medical bodies' independence.-VNA