Preventive medicine ignored: Deputy PM hinh anh 1A doctor explains the Extended Immunisation Programme to people of ethnic minorities in Kim Boi District, Hoa Binh Province. (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - None of Vietnam’s provinces are spending as much as they should on preventive medicine, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said on December 5 at a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the country’s preventive healthcare system.

“The National Assembly approved a resolution in 2008 to spend 30 percent of the national medical budget on preventive healthcare, but currently none of the provinces have spent more than 25 percent,” he said.

“In some highland areas you can travel all day without seeing a medical centre, while it takes only 10-15 minutes to find one in the plains,” he added. “Some medical staff have not been assigned jobs to improve their skills.”

Health Minister Nguyen Kim Tien, also speaking at the event, said the General Department of Preventive Medicine, founded 60 years ago, had defeated diseases such as smallpox, polio, neonatal tatenus, cholera, plague and malaria. It was recognised by the World Health Organisation as the first country to control the SARS epidemic after 45 days, in 2003, she said.

"Preventive healthcare services have become a specialised branch with modern technologies and capable personnel, as well as extensive study and application of advanced preventive healthcare solutions," she added.

The Expanded Programme on Immunisation covered every commune in the country, immunising all children under five against infectious diseases. The national vaccine management system was able to produce 10 of 12 vaccines for the programme at international standards.

Apart from acknowledging the achievements of the system, Dam said that in order for preventive healthcare to be truly effective, the medical sector should revise its human resources training system and financial mechanism.

He stressed the importance of combining disease treatment and disease prevention in medical practice, while acknowledging the challenges of socio-economic development, globalisation, an aging population, environmental pollution and climate change.

At the ceremony, the General Department of Preventive Medicine was awarded with the second class Labour Medal. Twenty collectives and 99 individuals received the Dang Van Ngu Award from the health ministry for their excellent contribution to the preventive healthcare system.-VNA