A project approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung will see upgrades to more than 70 traditional medicine hospitals across the country, from now until 2020.

The project aims to deliver a nationwide upgrade in hospital infrastructure and ensure the use of modern medical equipment. The project would also see oriental and western methodologies combined to enhance treatments and reduce overcrowding.

Under the project, 24 hospitals will be given priority for investment between 2014 and 2015, while a further upgrade has been foreshadowed for the 2016-2020 period. The project will also deliver improvements to 48 other hospitals.

Director of southern Binh Phuoc Traditional Medicine Hospital , Cao Duc Cuong, welcomed the project saying it would help overcome difficulties in upgrading infrastructure.

The hospital, which is expecting an upgrade in the 2014-15 period, was built in 1995 and has struggled to cope with increasing demands, said Cuong, adding that the hospital was expected to add 50 beds to it's 100-bed facility.

According to Cuong, additional investment will help address a range of challenges affecting the hospital, including a lack of space in the hospital's physiotherapy ward which struggles to accommodate proper machinery.

"The patients must wait for a long time for their turn to practise on these machines, which affects their recovery and the effectiveness of treatment," said Cuong, adding that a lot of patients were suffering from hemiplegia.

Cuong also pointed out that while the hospital had enough doctors to open a pharmaceutical ward, pollution in the surrounding environment from the hospital waste treatment system had rendered the move unfeasible.

"If the system is repaired and the pollution is reduced, we can not only open the pharmaceutical ward but also a nutritional ward to improve our treatment capacity," said Cuong.

Currently, the size of provincial hospitals is determined by population, local demand and service provision. A locality with a population under one million will typically require a provincial hospital with up to 150 beds, and as many as 200 beds to service between 1.5-2 million people. Provinces with more than two million people are usually equipped with up to 350 beds in a hospital.

Traditional hospitals under the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Public Security, are typically designed in line with plans developed by these ministries.-VNA