Health & Life Sciences Update: S$500 Million Increase to Healthcare Spending in Singapore Budget 2018

Health & Life Sciences Update | March 6, 2018
Authors: Shay Wester, Hai Pham, Ying Hui Tng, and Natalie McDaniel
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

March 27-29, 2018 Business Mission to Vietnam: The US-ASEAN Business Council is now registering senior-level executives for its annual Business Mission to Vietnam. The deadline for receipt of registration and mission materials is Tuesday, March 13, 2018.

March 29-30, 2018 Health & Life Sciences Mission to Vietnam: The US-ASEAN Business Council is now registering senior-level executives for its 2018 Health & Life Sciences Mission to Vietnam. The deadline for receipt of registration and mission materials is Tuesday, March 13, 2018.

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

S$500 Million Increase to Healthcare Spending in Singapore Budget 2018

On February 19, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced a S$550 million increase in health and social service spending as part of the Government of Singapore’s 2018 Budget. Most of the increase, S$300 million, will go towards the Community Silver Trust (CST), which offers dollar-for-dollar matching for donations to eligible voluntary welfare organizations (VWOs) providing long-term care services. Another S$100 million will go towards the Senior’s Mobility and Enabling fund, which subsidizes assistive devices and consumables for seniors. The remaining S$150 million will be spent over the next five years on transport to subsidized eldercare and dialysis centers.

Minister Heng also announced that the government will expand the Community Networks for Seniors (CNS) initiative by 2020 and consolidate the services provided under the Ministry of Health. From April 1, the Ministry of Social and Family Development will transfer its social aged care functions under the Senior Cluster Network and other programs to the Ministry of Health. This is expected to allow for better coordination of Senior Activity Centers, reducing duplication and improving outreach and support for seniors. Additionally, the Pioneer Generation Office (PGO) will merge with the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), and the AIC will become the central implementation agency to coordinate services between seniors and caregivers. The government also intends to review the ElderShield scheme. The ElderShield review released a report in January that recommended compulsory enrollment at age 30 instead of 40.

Gaps in Grassroots Healthcare in Vietnam

Grassroots healthcare in Vietnam has helped the country make significant improvements to ensuring sustainable healthcare for its population, but significant challenges remain. The Health Ministry has stated that commune-level clinics have only met 52.2% of health check-up and treatment demand. Furthermore, there is a shortage of basic medicines and health insurance covered drugs at the commune level. The gap here may indicate that Vietnam will fall short of its 2020 goal of 95% of communal health centers, wards or towns are to undertake the tasks of preventative medicine, health management, and treatment of certain non-communicable diseases (NCDs) according to the 6th Plenum of Communist Party resolution.

The Health Ministry launched the first Essential Medicine List of Vietnam in 1985 and has worked with the World Health Organization to update it regularly in response to changes in Vietnam's disease burden. The government has been working to cover all medicines on the list by a national health insurance system to prevent disease and improve healthcare overall, especially for the poor. In addition the GOV has also sought to increase the supply of domestically produced medicines as a way of reducing costs in the health insurance system. Vietnam has 163 factories manufacturing medicines that meet the Good Manufacturing Practices of the World Health Organization, and the medicines produced are typically 30% cheaper than imported medicines.

The Ministry of Health has been encouraging local drug companies to increase cooperation and conduct research to manufacture more specialty drugs in the future. The use of Vietnamese-made medicines at provincial-level hospitals has risen to 69.4% since the Ministry of Health initiated an ongoing project named “Vietnamese people give priority to use made-in-Vietnam medicines” in 2012. The ongoing project targets the number of people using Vietnam-made medicines at provincial-level hospitals to reach 50% by 2020, and district-level to reach 75%. In some provinces, usage has reached over 80%. Vietnam currently faces some challenges in reaching its goal, including a lack of specialty drugs Approximately 83% of vaccines supplied under the National Expanded Programme on Immunisation for Children are made in Vietnam. Vietnam currently produces enough vaccines for domestic use and oversees demand, but faces technology and capital challenges in producing five-in-one and six-in-one vaccinations. 

 
 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Brunei
Council registers over 230 allied health professionals

Cambodia
China offers medical equipment to Cambodia
Malaria cases in Cambodia almost double in 2017
Hun Sen’s wife issues plea for maternity care
Japan funds education and health

Indonesia
IMF director lauds Indonesia`s health care system
Indonesia's first biomedicine factory opens
East Java targets to vaccinate 10m following diphtheria outbreak

Malaysia
Japanese medical devices firm to build first overseas factory in Penang
50,000 Health Ministry-trained volunteers to detect, prevent non-communicable diseases
Malaysia urged to abolish female genital mutilation
Malaysia field hospital in Cox’s Bazar to operate till year end

Myanmar
Flagship HIV/AIDS project launched in Myanmar
Cuba offers Myanmar health development activities
Research ethics to be promoted in medical universities
Government urged to draft mental health care policy

Philippines
Hontiveros urges House to act on expanded maternity leave bill
Senate to resume probe on controversial dengue vaccine
Philippines: HIV cases up 3,147 percent in 10 years
Women in the Philippines turn to implants to protect themselves against unplanned pregnancy

Singapore
A virtual reality first for medical studies in Singapore
Polyclinics help with early detection of mental health issues
Govt to expand, consolidate social and health-related services for seniors under Ministry of Health
Singapore Budget 2018: S$550m increase in spending on health and social services
Understanding ElderShield and its proposed changes

Thailand
Thailand News: Education plan seeks to improve distribution of medical workers
IAEA Director General Visits Thailand: Highlights Potential of Sterile Insect Technique to Fight Disease-vector Mosquitoes
Health warning as rabies spreads rapidly
Bangkok to get a health security fund

Vietnam
Minister: It’s time to provide more health care services
Việt Nam faces risk of bird flu outbreak
Parents now need ID card to buy kid’s medicine
Made-in-Việt Nam medicine use on the rise
Grassroots healthcare plays key role: Ministry
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Brunei

Council registers over 230 allied health professionals Borneo Bulletin Online 23rd Feb 2018
The Allied Health Professions Council of Brunei Darussalam (AHPCBD), a newly established statutory body, has registered more than 230 allied health professionals. AHPCBD came into being following the enforcement of the Allied Health Professions of Brunei Darussalam Order, 2017 which took effect from July 1, 2017. It aims to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of the public. The implementation of the Order will bring Brunei Darussalam in line with the international standards that strive to ensure patient safety and high standard of healthcare as well as registered allied health professionals are competent and fit to practice their professions efficiently.

Cambodia

China offers medical equipment to Cambodia Khmer Times 26th Feb 2018
China’s Ministry of Defence today provided 24 kinds of medical equipment to the state-run Preah Ket Mealea military hospital to support heart and blood treatments. During a ceremony in Phnom Penh, Lieutenant General Ly Sovan, director of Preah Ket Mealea hospital, said that the hospital has often been short of medical equipment and human resources. Lt Gen Sovan said that since 2000, China’s Ministry of Defence has been filling the voids with donations while also renovating five buildings.

Malaria cases in Cambodia almost double in 2017 Xinhua 23rd Feb 2018
Cambodia reported 45,991 malaria cases last year, a 95-percent rise from the 23,627 cases in a year earlier, a senior health official said on Friday. Huy Rekol, director of the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control, said the disease killed one person in 2017, the same as that of 2016. He attributed the remarkable increase in malaria cases last year to changing climate and expired insecticide-treated mosquito nets.

Hun Sen’s wife issues plea for maternity care Khmer Times 21st Feb 2018
Prime Minister Hun Sen’s wife Bun Rany yesterday called on all civil servants and health officials to implement the government’s social protection policy to reduce the infant mortality rate. Ms Rany, who is president of the Cambodian Red Cross, issued the call yesterday prior to today’s National Mothers, Infants and Children Day. In an open letter to civil servants, Ms Rany said the goal of reducing maternal and infant mortality rates could be achieved if all stakeholders worked together to implement the policy.

Japan funds education and health Khmer Times 16th Feb 2018
The Japanese government yesterday provided grant assistance worth nearly $350,000 to support IT education for disabled young Cambodians, as well as the construction of hospital buildings in three provinces across the kingdom. The agreement was signed at the Japanese embassy in Phnom Penh yesterday afternoon between Horinouchi Hidehisa, the Japanese ambassador to Cambodia, and four representatives of the funding recipients. According to Mr Hidehisa, the NGO Marist Solidarity Cambodia will get $72,100, Takeo province’s Bati Operational District Health Office will receive $91,000, the Mondulkiri provincial department of health will take $90,000 and the Kampong Thom provincial department of health will get $90,000.

Indonesia

IMF director lauds Indonesia`s health care system Antara News 28th Feb 2018
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) stated that the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, has lauded Indonesia`s national health system during a visit to the Pertamina Central Hospital on Monday. "Madame Lagarde was amazed. She also stated that Indonesia may be the only country in the world, with such large population, where the government covers the health insurance of the citizens. There are other countries that implemented similar systems, but they are significantly smaller in terms of population," Jokowi stated at the Delta Silicon industry area, Cikarang, West Java on Tuesday.

Indonesia's first biomedicine factory opens Nikkei Asian Review 1st Mar 2018
Indonesia's largest pharmaceutical company, Kalbe Farma, inaugurated its first biological drug factory on Tuesday, as it aims to produce higher-margin prescription drugs amid heated competition in the country's pharmaceutical industry. The factory, run by subsidiary Kalbio Global Medika, sits across an 11,000-square-meter site in an industrial zone in Cikarang, east of Jakarta. Kalbe invested 500 billion rupiah ($35 million) to construct the factory. Another 200 billion rupiah has been set aside to support research and development, and to transfer technology from Chinese and South Korean partners to support the operation, Kalbe said in a press statement.

East Java targets to vaccinate 10m following diphtheria outbreak The Jakarta Post 17th Feb 2018
The East Java Health Agency has targeted to vaccinate 10,717,765 residents aged between one and 19 years old in 2018 following a diphtheria outbreak in the province. The province has set aside Rp 89 billion (US$6.5 million) to finance the program, dubbed the Outbreak Response Immunization. Agency head Kohar Hari Santoso said on Saturday that the agency had also involved religious figures affiliated with major organizations such as the Religious Affairs Ministry, the Indonesia Ulema Council and Muslim groups in anticipation of resistance based on religious reasons, such as doubts over the halal status of the injection. “[Some people have] doubts over vaccinations. We have anticipated this by involving religious figures. [Vaccination] is important,” he said. East Java saw the highest number of diphtheria cases in 2017, which stood at 460 cases, 16 of whom died, up from 352 in 2016. The vaccination program will be conducted in three phases. The first phase is set to be carried out between February and March. The second and third phases will be conducted between April and May and October and November respectively.

Malaysia

Japanese medical devices firm to build first overseas factory in Penang The Malaysian Insight 26th Feb 2018
Medical devices manufacturer Japan Lifeline Co Ltd is investing ¥2 billion (RM70 million) to build its first overseas factory in Penang , through its Malaysian subsidiary JLL Malaysia Sdn Bhd, the company announced today. The factory, which will be built over the next two years and scheduled to be completed in the third quarter of the fiscal year ending March 2020, will be sitting on a 16,211 square metre plot of land at the North Penang Science Park on the mainland.

50,000 Health Ministry-trained volunteers to detect, prevent non-communicable diseases Malay Mail Online 25th Feb 2018
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Hilmi Yahaya said the Health Ministry has trained more than 50,000 volunteers to detect patients with high cholesterol, glucose level and high blood pressure to prevent them at an early stage. — Picture by KE OoiGEORGE TOWN, Feb 25 — The Health Ministry has trained more than 50,000 volunteers to detect patients with high cholesterol, glucose level and high blood pressure to prevent them at an early stage. Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said the volunteers, via the National Healthy Community programme comprising those from the Rukun Tetangga, local leaders and civil servants were trained for the past three years.

Malaysia urged to abolish female genital mutilation The Star Online 22nd Feb 2018
Malaysia has been criticised by representatives from Muslim countries for allowing female genital mutilation (FGM) and calling for the practice to be abolished. Representatives questioned the practice of FGM by Malaysian Muslims at the Constructive Dialogue session at the 69th session of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) that was aired online on Tuesday (Feb 20).

Malaysia field hospital in Cox’s Bazar to operate till year end The Malaysian Insight 19th Feb 2018
The Malaysian field hospital in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, which has catered to Rohingya refugees since December 1 last year, will continue operations until year end, said Deputy Health Minister Dr Hilmi Yahaya. He said discussions would be held at the ministry level to plan the deployment of staff to the hospital in stages. “The (deployment) plan was initially for only a three-month period. Now that the operations will be extended until year end, talks must be held to make new plans,” he told reporters after welcoming the return of the third team, comprising 41 staff members, who had served at the hospital, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport today.

Myanmar

Flagship HIV/AIDS project launched in Myanmar Xinhua 26th Feb 2018
-Myanmar has launched a HIV/AIDS Flagship (UHF) project to be implemented in five regions and states with the highest rate of HIV infection, the official Global New Light of Myanmar reported Monday. With a fund of 10 million U.S. dollars and backed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the two-year project 2018-19 covers Kachin and Shan states and Sagaing, Yangon and Mandalay regions. The project aims to beef up HIV prevention, testing and treatment services by utilizing non-governmental organizations and private sector health providers for the high-risk population - people with HIV, drug addicts, sex workers and transgender people.

Cuba offers Myanmar health development activities Eleven Myanmar 26th Feb 2018
Cuba and Myanmar will cooperate on health promotion activities under a tripartite Cuba-Myanmar- Luxembourg programme, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports. Dr Myint Htwe, the Union Minister of Health and Sports, discussed the exchange of medical experts when he met February 22 with Cuban Ambassador to Myanmar, Hector Conde Almedia. The Cuban ambassador later shared information about Cuba’s expertise in fast-track bio-education programmes, vaccine production, cancer treatments, universal access to free medical treatment, and education.

Research ethics to be promoted in medical universities The Myanmar Times 21st Feb 2018
Dr  Phae Thet Khin, president of Ethics Review Committee of the Department of Medical Research (DMR), said as part of its initial efforts, a Training of Trainers (TOT) was held for representatives of 16 medical universities in Yangon.  He said the workshop aims to develop medical professional and research ethics in the country. “Research is important to daily life,” Dr Phae Thet Khin said. “Research and development play important roles in the country. The ministry also urges the public to become concerned about research,” he said. He told The Myanmar Times that his office will cooperate with medical universities to conduct a training workshop on responsible conduct of research to develop professionalism.

Government urged to draft mental health care policy The Myanmar Times 19th Feb 2018
Most people think that only the patients in the Mental Health Hospital suffer from mental disorders, but anyone can suffer from mental diseases, such as those related to physical illness, alcohol abuse, and drug dependence, among others, said Daw San San Oo, who is a psychiatrist. “A mental health system is needed in every area of Myanmar,” she said, adding that the country’s law, which is more than a century old, is no longer meeting the needs of the times.  The country’s current mental health legislation, entitled “The Lunacy Act,” was enacted in 1912. A new mental health bill has been discussed by relevant ministries and agencies since 2013 but has not yet reached parliament. 

Philippines

Hontiveros urges House to act on expanded maternity leave bill Inquirer 26th Feb 2018
Senator Risa Hontiveros urged the House of Representatives on Monday to act on a bill that would extend paid maternity leave, decrying the current 60 days a “serious public health risk.” “It has been truly insufficient in keeping up with the health needs of women, and the nutritional needs of their children,” said Hontiveros, who authored the proposed Expanded Maternity Leave Law passed on third and final reading in the Senate last May. The current number of days is well below the international standard of 98 days stipulated in Convention 183 of the International Labor Organization, which the Philippines has committed to.

Senate to resume probe on controversial dengue vaccine CNN 20th Feb 2018
The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee will resume on Wednesday its probe on the Dengvaxia controversy. The Senate panel has issued subpoenas on Monday to Public Attorney's Office (PAO) Chief Persida Acosta and PAO Forensics Director Dr. Erwin Erfe, to shed light on their investigation on the deaths allegedly caused by the dengue vaccine. Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chair Richard Gordon earlier said they have been inviting the two PAO officials to attend the hearings, but the officials failed to show up for the third time on February 6.

Philippines: HIV cases up 3,147 percent in 10 years Aljazeera 19th Feb 2018
New HIV cases continued to increase in the Philippines in 2017, with a 3,147 percent surge since 2007, according to an Al Jazeera analysis of the latest data published by the country's health agency, bucking a downward trend worldwide. In a February 2018 report, the Philippine Department of Health said 11,103 new cases were reported in 2017, up 19.85 percent from the 9,264 cases in 2016. Compared with the 342 HIV infections reported in 2007, the 2017 figure is 3,147 percent higher.

Women in the Philippines turn to implants to protect themselves against unplanned pregnancy Channel NewsAsia 17th Feb 2018
Ms Blessy Chio, a 23-year-old Filipina student, recently underwent a medical procedure that took less than five minutes.  But the effects of a contraceptive implant on her body are long-term, as it will prevent her from getting pregnant for three years. The distribution of free implants is the latest contraceptive measure in the Philippines allowed by its Supreme Court.   In November 2017, the court lifted a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the procurement and distribution of the implants Implanon and Implanon NXT, after the country's Food and Drug Administration certified that they were not abortifacients - something that can induce abortion.

Singapore

A virtual reality first for medical studies in Singapore The Straits Times 26th Feb 2018
Students across various medical disciplines will soon get to practise what they have learnt in a virtual environment. A team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, part of the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, has created a computer program which lets them do just that. Called Create Real-life Experience And Teamwork In Virtual Environment, or Creative for short, the initiative lets participants work in a virtual ward with other medical professionals to treat a patient. The "professionals" will be played by students in fields such as nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, medicine and social work.

Polyclinics help with early detection of mental health issues The New Paper 23rd Feb 2018
As she treated one of her diabetic patients, family physician Winnie Soon noticed another condition had taken root. This patient was showing signs of depression, due to a "recent bereavement" in her family, and the mental illness was affecting her physical health. Acting quickly, Dr Soon referred her patient to a psychologist, and she was then taken for counselling. This detection was possible thanks to a partnership between the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics (NHGP), the Institute of Mental Health and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH).

Govt to expand, consolidate social and health-related services for seniors under Ministry of Health TODAYonline 19th Feb 2018
To streamline the delivery of social and health services to seniors, the Government will expand the Community Networks for Seniors (CNS) initiative by 2020 and consolidate these services under the Ministry of Health (MOH), announced Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in his Budget speech on Monday (Feb 19). From April 1, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) will transfer its social aged care functions under the Senior Cluster Network and other programmes to the Ministry of Health (MOH). For example, MOH will able to value add to Senior Activity Centres, which currently come under the MSF’s Senior Cluster Network, by integrating preventive health services to better support seniors to age in place, said a Ministry spokesperson.

Singapore Budget 2018: S$550m increase in spending on health and social services The Business Times 26th Feb 2018
THE government will integrate its health and social services for seniors, and spend S$550 million more to better serve the needs of ageing Singaporeans. The consolidating of social- and health-related services for seniors will enable such services "to be planned and delivered holistically", Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in his Budget Speech on Monday. This means the Ministry of Social and Family Development will transfer its social aged care functions under the Senior Cluster Network and other programmes to the Ministry of Health. It will take effect from April 1 this year. "With this transfer, the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) will be designated the central implementation agency to coordinate such services for seniors and their caregivers," Mr Heng said.

Understanding ElderShield and its proposed changes The Straits Times 24th Feb 2018
Both are insurance schemes that cover policyholders for as long as they live. While ElderShield covers people with severe disabilities, MediShield takes care of large hospital bills. You can opt out of ElderShield but not MediShield. Launched in 2002, ElderShield was designed to provide basic financial protection to Singaporeans who need long-term care. With ElderShield, you stop paying premiums after 65. You can continue to make a claim at any age afterwards, but the monthly cash payouts will last only up to six years. Those with supplementary plans will have enhanced cover.

Thailand

Thailand News: Education plan seeks to improve distribution of medical workers Thai Visa News 24th Feb 2018
The National Health Professional Education Foundation has recommended “Interprofessional Education” (IPE) as a solution to the country’s shortage of medical workers. “We have promoted IPE because we believe medical-worker supply planning should not be just about producing more medical workers. We have to think about how to distribute and retain them too,” the foundation’s secretary-general, Professor Wanicha Chuenkongkaew said.  Thailand is struggling with a shortage of medical staff. Although the ratio of doctors and nurses to the population has improved, medical workers are usually concentrated in towns and cities.  The ratio of doctors to population in Thailand was at 1:2,893 in 2010, which is significantly better than 1:3,277 in 2001.

IAEA Director General Visits Thailand: Highlights Potential of Sterile Insect Technique to Fight Disease-vector Mosquitoes IAEA 21st Feb 2018
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano visited Bangkok, Thailand this week, where in his meetings with senior officials he discussed a range of development areas where nuclear applications play a vital role. These included the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) that can help to control the Aedes mosquito population and the role of nuclear medicine in the health sector. In his opening remarks at the first coordination and consultative meeting for a new four-year project on using the SIT to control the Aedes mosquito population, ‘Managing and Controlling Aedes Vector Populations Using the Sterile Insect Technique,’ Mr Amano said that the technique has proved effective against a number of insect pests which are harmful to human beings, animals or food crops.  “IAEA Member States around the world have used the technique successfully against fruit flies and tsetse flies. Important progress has been made in its use against mosquitoes,” he said, adding that vector-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, Zika viral disease and yellow fever are becoming important public health problems in many countries in South-east Asia.

Health warning as rabies spreads rapidly Thai Visa News 26th Feb 2018
Rabies has spread rapidly, albeit silently, in many provinces of Thailand, with 271 confirmed cases of infection in animals nationwide as of yesterday – just 55 days into the New Year. This number already surpasses the total number of rabies cases in the entire year of 2014. According to real-time rabies infection statistics reported at Thairabies.net, the rabies outbreak is most serious in the Lower North Eastern Region, while dogs were the most common animals to be infected.

Bangkok to get a health security fund Bangkok Post 22nd Feb 2018
Bangkok is finally setting up a "health security fund" to support health care programmes in the teeming capital. Sakchai Kanchanawatthana, secretary-general of the National Health Security Office (NHSO), said Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, in his capacity as chairman of the NHSO board, recently signed off on a plan to help Bangkok launch its own provincial health security fund.

Vietnam

Minister: It’s time to provide more health care services Vietnam Plus 27th Feb 2018
Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien talks with Thoi Bao Kinh Te Viet Nam (Vietnam Economic Times) about projects to build more hospitals and provide better services for patients.

Việt Nam faces risk of bird flu outbreak vietnamnews.vn 26th Feb 2018
The Department of Animal Health (DAH) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has warned about the threat of bird flu outbreak following one A/H5N6 bird flu outbreak recorded in the past 21 days in Đại Bản Commune, An Dương District, in the northern port city of Hải Phòng. According to a report of the Hải Phòng Animal Health Division, the disease first broke out in a farm belonging to Mai Văn Tình. Tình raised 3,200 poultries, of which nearly 3,000 chickens tested positive for A/H5N6 virus. The 200 ducks were not affected as they had been vaccinated. Tình bought the chickens from the northern province of Thái Nguyên without any quarantine papers and did not give them any vaccine. When they started dying, Tình did not report it to the local authorities and culled the birds by himself.

Parents now need ID card to buy kid’s medicine Vietnam Net 26th Feb 2018
A new regulation which requires the identity card number of a parent or guardian in the prescription form to buy medicines for a child aged six or less is making parents uneasy. A customer at a pharmacy on Quan Su Street in Hanoi. Parents in Viet Nam will need to present their ID card numbers when buying children’s medicine from March 1.  The new circular regulating prescription for outpatient children will become effective from March 1. According to the new requirement introduced by the Health Ministry, besides mentioning the name and age of the child, the name and age of the parent or guardian, family address, health insurance card number, diagnosis, medicine names and doctor’s advice will also need to be provided to purchase medicines.

Made-in-Việt Nam medicine use on the rise vietnamnews.vn 23rd Feb 2018
The use of made-in-Việt Nam medicines at provincial-level hospitals has risen to 35.4 per cent since the Ministry of Health initiated an ongoing project named “Vietnamese people give priority to using made-in-Việt Nam medicines” in 2012. The ratio was over 33 per cent before the project began. Deputy Minister Trương Quốc Cường said the project was designed to help national medicine develop sustainably in the near future. A report from the ministry said the amount of people using made-in-Việt Nam medicines at district-level hospitals was up from 61.5 per cent to 69.4 per cent. The percentage in some provinces reached over 80 per cent, including Ninh Thuận, Phú Yên, Lai Châu, Lâm Đồng and Long An.

Grassroots healthcare plays key role: Ministry VOV - VOV Online Newspaper 19th Feb 2018
Medical services at the grassroots level help save costs and ensure sustainability in healthcare, contributing to the improvement of medical service quality, according to the Ministry of Health. However, the ministry said healthcare at the grassroots level have showed weaknesses, requiring changes to better serve people. There are 11,162 clinics at commune, ward and town levels nationwide. The Health Ministry said that the number of medical services at commune-level clinics has met only 52.2% of health check-up and treatment demand. There is a shortage of basic medicines and drugs covered by health insurance at this level. The quality of medical equipment, infrastructure and medical workers is not ensured. Patients have lost trust in medical quality at the grassroots level due to a series of medical calamities and moved to clinics or hospitals of higher level. This fact has led to overcrowd at district-level or central level healthcare facilities.