HCMC mulls annual aid of $6 million to support medics

By Thai Anh   April 7, 2022 | 04:31 pm PT
HCMC mulls annual aid of $6 million to support medics
Medical workers rest after finishing mass testing to detect Covid-19 cases in HCMC in 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa
Ho Chi Minh City will spend VND138 billion ($6 million) each year to help state-owned medical centers across wards and communes retain staff.

As proposed by the municipal People's Committee, the city's executive arm, at a meeting with the legislative People's Council on Thursday, the fund will be given to 310 medical centers from now until 2025.

Doctors will receive VND60 million over 18 months while nurses get VND30 million in nine months.

According to the committee, the Health Department reported earlier that the latest Covid-19 outbreak had revealed many challenges in the city's grassroots healthcare system, including staff shortage.

Because of the outbreak, many staff at medical centers at commune and ward level had quit their jobs.

There are many reasons for them to resign but the most common are exhaustion following months fighting Covid-19 and the low income, Tang Chi Thuong, director of the municipal Department of Health, said last December.

In the first three months this year, around 400 medics at state-owned medical centers in the city have quit their jobs after 968 staff had done so in the first ten months of last year.

During the Covid-19 outbreak last year, the epicenter HCMC had relied on task forces at medical centers across wards and communes to take care of Covid-19 patients self-isolating.

Yet apart from the one-time allowance regulated at either VND4.5 million ($195) or VND10 million for frontline medics, they were paid exactly the remuneration they received before the pandemic.

For now, the monthly salary for the head of a medical center stands at VND6 million, and VND3.75 million for nurses and pharmacists.

The committee also proposed hiring retired doctors for one year at VND9 million per month and those having medical expertise at VND7 million.

HCMC currently has just 2.3 medical workers per 10,000 residents, compared to the national average of 7.4, according to the health department.

There are 310 medical centers at commune and ward level, with 52 having less than five employees, 173 having six to eight each, and 64 having nine or 10. On average, each ward and commune in the city has around 30,000 residents.

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