Vietnam's public hospitals waste $16 mln on unused, broken equipment: audit

By Nam Phuong   May 24, 2017 | 03:04 pm GMT+7

Many devices were damaged before or soon after being put into use.

Many public hospitals in Vietnam have been wasting huge amounts of money buying unnecessary or poor quality equipment, state auditors said.

Inspections found 1,225 devices worth more than VND371 billion ($16.34 million) were either broken or left unused in hospitals, the State Audit Office of Vietnam said in a report on Tuesday to the National Assembly, Vietnam's legislature.

Although the devices were brand-new upon purchase, around half of them are now broken and cannot be fixed, equivalent to a loss of VND68 billion, inspections conducted in 2016 across 11 cities and provinces found.

Vietnam's medical sector has taken steps in recent years to improve the quality of its healthcare services, but patients are still complaining that there are a limited number of public hospitals and inadequate equipment. This has driven many people from remote areas to travel to treatment facilities in major cities, causing overcrowding.

Nearly 500 devices worth more than VND151 billion had not been used or had limited use, while the rest were waiting to be fixed, the report said.

An X-ray machine at Can Tho General Hospital in the Mekong Delta city had been left to rust after it broke down soon after it was first used in 2009.

At a medical center in Binh Duong Province, 34 devices had been left unused since 2010 because it did not really need them.

Vietnam's government is responsible for acting on the results of the audit and for punishing individuals found guilty of wrongdoing.

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