Illustrative Image (Source: suckhoedoisong.vn)

Can Tho (VNA) – Statistics showed that the Mekong Delta has 7.85 doctors and 1.39 pharmacists per 10,000 residents, reflecting a serious shortage in the region.

The situation is even worse in some special medical fields. For example, all the 13 Mekong Delta provinces and cities have their own forensic science centres, but there are only four forensic doctors in the entire region. There are eight tuberculosis and lung disease hospitals in the region, but most have few specialized doctors, with some provinces having just between 1 and 5 doctors trained in the field.

Le Hoang Anh, Director of the Kien Giang Health Department, said the province is preparing to establish a tuberculosis hospital and another for mental disorders, but there are only 7 – 8 doctors available for each establishment.

Kien Giang is calling for medical students to work at local hospitals after graduating. However, not many of them answer to the call due to unattractive salaries.

Can Tho City, despite having the highest rate of 11.54 doctors per 10,000 residents, still lacks doctors at general hospitals, particularly at grassroots level.

Another problem for the region’s medical sector is the loss of good doctors to private establishments. Tu Quoc Tuan, Director of the An Giang Health Department, said the province has subsidized tuition fees for medical workers to receive training, so that they will return to work at local hospital after graduation.

However, in the past three years, one fifth of the trained medical workers have accepted paying damages for the authorities and quit their previous medical jobs after finishing their study.

The situation is predicted to get worse with the rising number of private clinics and hospitals in the region, which offer much higher wages and bonuses than their public peers.

At a recent conference on medical human resources training in the Mekong Delta, representatives from the 13 provinces and cities suggested that better salary policy and working environment are needed to attract and keep doctors at public facilities.-VNA