As a result of the American war that took place in the 1960s in Vietnam, many Vietnamese people still suffer from the consequences of biological weapon, agent orange that not only killed crops but also create negative impact on human body through its contaminated substances. Back at that time, that was common for Vietnamese women’s birth miscarriage or children born with disabilities due to these kind of chemical substance, regardless of healthcare.
Healthcare in Vietnam undergoing overhaul
In the past, Vietnamese government only invested 0.9% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on healthcare systems, which serve only 30% of the total population. Hence, a huge proportion of Vietnamese people have to pay for private healthcare services themselves.
Years after, a new regulation and investment have been set to be effective as of 2014. This action aimed to have every citizen covered with governmental healthcare services including the most basic ones, even if they still have to pay for their further visits in private clinics or hospitals. This seemed to be very positive for Vietnamese as the government had cared more of citizens’ health. For that purpose, Vietnam worked closely with Thailand’s government to model its universal healthcare after their example. In the spring of 2014, there were several reforms that had been implemented.
Even though the situation is getting better through years, for expats, the best bet you can probably take is private health insurance that covers your healthcare cost throughout your stay.
Health services available
Public hospitals in Vietnam
For expats, standards of public hospital in Vietnam is far behind from those of hospital in North America or Western Europe, which stands for its very cheap price when compared. Public hospitals are underfunded, poorly equipped and always crowded in working hours. Doctors and medical staffs there will generally speak only Vietnamese and the quality of service in rural areas is worse, even non-existent.
As becoming official worker in Vietnam, expats are provided with healthcare insurance from their company. This kind of insurance cover the most basic services that are required.
Nonetheless, the quality of the services covered are provided by hospitals in Vietnam with relatively poor quality, not to mention public hospitals are always full of people waiting for their turns.
Private hospitals in Vietnam
Private hospitals are generally favorable for most of the expats working in Vietnam as their quality and the attitude of medical staffs far more exceed those in public hospitals, especially international hospitals where paid services are world-class with exclusive treatments and supervisions from globally qualified doctors.
As regards international hospitals, the number of patients is not as crowded and the facilities are pasteurized everyday. More than that, medical staffs and doctors there are proficient in English at intermediate level to serve the best treatements to their patients.
Here are the list of international hospitals in HCMC:
• Vinmec International Hospital
• SOS Clinic
167, Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, W.6, Dist.3, HCMC
• City International Hospital
3 Street 17A, Binh Tri Dong B Ward, Binh Tan District
• Franco Vietnam Hospital – FV Hospital
6 Nguyen Luang Bang St, District 7
• Franco Vietnam Saigon Clinic
Third Floor, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu Street, District 1
• Victoria International Healthcare
79 Dien Bien Phu, Da Kao, District 1
Medicines and pharmacies in Vietnam
Pharmacies in Vietnam are well stocked and easy to find, especially in big cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. They’re usually located on any major shopping street or in malls. There are many kinds of pharmacies in Vietnam, namely chains of branded company, private pharmacies and also hospital-based pharmacies, that may confuse expats when it comes to medicine needs.
Pharmacity is one of the drug store chains that provide high-quality products in Vietnam
Buying medicine over the counter without a prescription is straightforward, but expats should be aware that many of the drugs sold in Vietnamese pharmacies are likely to be counterfeit or have expired. Always check the expiring date on the packaging before making a purchase. In addition, expats who want to be extra careful can either take the necessary medicines from their home country or visit a pharmacy in one of the private hospitals or clinics. Most of all, remember to choose the reputable pharmacies promoted by the experts/doctors in order to ensure the quality of medicines.