Vietnam: 16 Million Residents in The Mekong Delta Enjoy High Quality Health Services

May 30, 2013

Communities benefit from improved health care and facilities, while enjoying affordable health insurance coverage.

World Bank Group

  • Patients in the Mekong Delta were usually referred to Ho Chi Minh City due to lack of high quality health services.
  • Thanks to a World Bank-supported project, millions of residents now enjoy improved health services and affordable health insurance.
  • More than 80 per cent of patients are now satisfied with health services provided in the region.

Getting affordable and adequate health services used to be difficult for Nguyen Van Tam, a resident of Cao Lanh District in Dong Thap Province of Vietnam. Tam is among nearly 2.5 million people living close to the poverty line in the Mekong Delta region.

For them, paying for health insurance was also a challenge. In 2006 however, the Mekong Regional Health Support Project supported by the World Bank, made health insurance more affordable for vulnerable households such as Tam’s.

“I have received a lot of support through health insurance ever since I suffered from chronic kidney failure,” said Nguyen Van Tam. “My children can still go to school while I am hospitalized for kidney dialysis.”

Implemented from 2006 to mid-2012, the project aimed to improve health services in the region and to enhance access to these services, especially for vulnerable people. The project contributed an additional 30 percent of health insurance premiums on top of the 50 percent government subsidy, leaving individuals to pay only the remaining 20 percent.

By the end of 2009, about 70 percent of people living close to the poverty line in the region were covered by health insurance, up from 10 percent in 2006.
In addition, around 25,000 poor patients have received financial support to have medical care and heart surgery.

" I am very happy with the health care facilities here, especially with the treatment provided. "

Tran Van Tuan

Resident of Cai Rang District, Can Tho City

The project benefits communities living along the banks of flood-prone Mekong River who are often at risk of catching cholera, malaria, dengue fever and other deadly diseases.

This $70-million project also invested in essential equipment for  hospitals and  preventive health centers in 13 provinces of the region. In addition, Can Tho Central General hospital received advanced equipment and training to become a referral hospital.

“Thanks to this project we have been able to improve the prevention and control of diseases, and to prevent major outbreaks,” said Bui Thi Le Phi, Director of Can Tho Provincial Health Bureau.

Moreover, an estimated 10,000 health workers have received health-related courses and additional training to meet the region’s demands.

Today, an estimated 16 million people in the Mekong Delta region are benefiting from improved health services and facilities. From this number, 2.5 million people also have better access to health insurance.

According to a survey at the end of the project, more than 80 percent of patients were satisfied with the quality of health care and the condition of the facilities. Nowadays, in many cases, patients can be treated in the region, instead of transferring to hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City, which saves them a lot of time and money.

“I am very happy with the health care facilities here, especially with the treatment provided,” said Tran Van Tuan, resident of Cai Rang District, Can Tho City.