The health sector has been awarded Independence Order, first class, in recognition of its great contributions to the cause of caring for people’s health as well as comprehensive progresses it has made over the years.

The distinction was handed over by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam during an art programme co-hosted by the Ministry of Health and the Vietnam Television featuring the sector’s 60-year growth in Hanoi on February 27.

Deputy PM Dam requested the whole sector to exert more efforts to continue fulfilling its task of improving public health, as well as building a progressive health system.

The sector should strengthen its network at lower levels, especially in far-flung areas, expand the coverage of health insurance and mobilise investment resources from society for its accelerated growth, he suggested.

Over the past six decades, the health system has been improved continuously. Vietnam is one of the nations receiving the United Nations’ and international community’s praise for the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals involving healthcare, notably the decreases in malnutrition rate among under-five children and the fatality rates of mothers and newborns.

The country’s current average life expectancy is double that of 1945, and dangerous diseases have largely been put under control. The sector has also worked to meet over 50 percent of the medicine demand and is taking the initial steps towards producing medicine for export.

The technical skills of Vietnamese doctors are on par with those in the region and around the world, especially in kidney, liver, and stem cell transplants, and heart surgery.

In recent days, a lot of activities have been organised across the country to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Vietnam Doctors’ Day.-VNA