HCMC seeks $285 mln of central budget for healthcare improvement

By Trung Son   February 23, 2022 | 11:57 pm PT
HCMC seeks $285 mln of central budget for healthcare improvement
People wait in line for health checks at a ward-level medical center in HCMC's Binh Thanh District in 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Thu Anh
Ho Chi Minh City has asked the central government for over VND6.5 trillion ($285 million) to upgrade grassroots health services and three outlying hospitals.

In a recent statement sent to the Ministries of Planning-Investment and Health, the HCMC administration said it needs VND2 trillion to renovate its Center for Disease Control and Prevention and 184 medical centers at ward and commune levels, aside from VND4.5 trillion to upgrade general hospitals in the districts of Hoc Mon and Cu Chi, and Thu Duc City.

The city had already put forward the proposal last month following the government's program on recovering and developing socio-economic activities.

However, until now, the Planning-Investment Ministry has only allocated VND586 billion toward renovating medical centers in 41 wards and communes, and the CDC.

During the latest Covid-19 outbreak between May and September last year, HCMC's grassroots health system proved to have many weak points, including a serious shortage of staff and medical equipment.

In many cases, medical workers at ward and commune levels have all reported overload and low payment.

In the first 10 months last year, 968 staff at state-owned medical centers quit their jobs compared to 597 last year, data from the municipal Health Department shows.

A majority of those who quit were medical workers at ward-level medical centers, with most citing financial problems or other personal reasons, she noted.

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

In December, HCMC imposed a plan to keep medics from quitting, with solutions to raise additional incomes and monthly salaries.

Now in its statement, HCMC's administration stated hospitals in the city receive more than 30 million patients each year, including 40-60 percent of those from other localities, and that the healthcare system in the city is typically overloaded.

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