Largest surgical center in northern Vietnam has one week of supplies

By Le Nga   February 23, 2023 | 06:14 am PT
Largest surgical center in northern Vietnam has one week of supplies
A traffic accident victim is treated at Viet Duc Hospital in Hanoi, 2019. Photo by Thai Binh
The director of Hanoi’s Viet Duc Hospital says his facility and others in the capital have only one week of medical supplies left, and not enough money to purchase more.

Viet Duc director Tran Binh Giang said his blood labs had only enough chemicals left for one week’s worth of analyses. He said Viet Duc also had only enough spinal cord equipment for one week of treatments as well, and that such equipment was now only being used for extreme emergencies. He added that the hospital was also short on other supplies such as syringes and patches.

The hospital, the largest surgical center in northern Vietnam, has announced to stop performing scheduled surgeries from March 1 to save resources for emergency cases.

Giang said that in the past, hospitals were allowed to use medical insurance to pay for equipment, supplies, chemicals, machines and services provided by companies and outside contractors.

But a new government resolution that took effect after November 2022 prohibited the use of medical insurance to pay for such contracts. Thus, since December last year, many hospitals haven’t had the funds to buy new supplies. Giang said several hospitals were now experiencing shortages as a result.

Since last year, Viet Duc hospital has performed over 79,000 surgeries. Thousands of people come to the hospital every day for diagnoses, treatments and other medical requests.

Aside from the current financial problems, a shortage of medical equipment and chemicals has been affecting major hospitals across Vietnam since at least early 2022. Official statistics released in July 2022 showed that 82% of medical facilities and 57% of central hospitals, or 12 out of 21, lacked medicine and equipment, forcing patients and their families to buy their own supplies from outside vendors, including the most basic tools like needles and bandages.

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