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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Vietnam faces shortfall of nearly 24,000 preventive medicine workers

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Vietnam is suffering from a shortage of 23,866 preventive medicine workers, including nearly 8,000 doctors and around 4,000 workers with a Bachelor’s in public health, according to the national anti-Covid steering committee’s report released at a healthcare conference yesterday, January 20.

The country’s preventive medicine workforce is insufficient in both quantity and quality. Each center for disease control (CDC) across the country has around 161 employees, but they have not been allocated appropriately. Many divisions do not have enough personnel.

Besides this, CDCs do not have enough rooms for workers and lots of equipment are obsolete and substandard. Some provinces do not have cold storage facilities to preserve vaccines, forcing them to rely on private service suppliers.

In addition, 82.5% of the CDCs nationwide reported that they had installed PCR testing systems and were hesitant about procurement or bidding for medical supplies during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic period, due to the scarcity of goods and fluctuations in material prices.

As for the shortage of healthcare workers at local medical stations and grassroots medical units, the steering committee did not provide statistics. The report only indicated that grassroots medical facilities failed to meet the demand for healthcare services among local people in the new normal. Residents have also found it hard to access medical services during the coronavirus outbreak, resulting in a high risk of fatalities.

Moreover, after two years of fighting the coronavirus, medical workers have become exhausted as they had to work non-stop under high pressure for a long time. Thousands of medical workers have tendered their resignations, thus increasing the risk of healthcare worker shortages, according to the report.

To cope with the shortage, the Government asked the Ministry of Health to take action to achieve the target of ensuring 3.03 pharmacists, 15 nurses and 9.4 doctors per 10,000 people, among others.

The Health Ministry said it would work following a roadmap to ensure the adequate number and quality of healthcare workers across medical facilities, offer incentives to and increase allowances for medical workers, and restructure the healthcare system based on the population size.

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