As a combination of Eastern medicine and Western medicine, healthcare system in Vietnam is currently oriented to a universal healthcare system which will provide the whole population basic medical care. Today most residents in Vietnam have to pay for medical services themselves.
At present, health services in Vietnam ranges enormously between urban areas and rural areas; therefore, expats should have proper preparation when traveling in Vietnam.
Health services in urban areas
Almost all major hospitals including both public and private hospitals are located in big cities where healthcare facilities are well equipped and the expansion of commuters exponentially increases.
Factually the standards of public hospitals in Vietnam do not satisfy expats’ expectation as those in America or Europe. Public healthcare establishment in Vietnam is partially underfunded; however, healthcare providers are well-experienced and qualified doctors. A public hospital in such cosmopolitan cities as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City is always overloaded with constantly excess bed capacity. Besides, doctors and staff in public hospitals normally only speak Vietnamese.
On the other hand, private hospitals in Vietnam is better equipped with modern technology and high standard services and staffed by qualified doctors who have trained overseas. The cost of medical care in private hospitals is generally higher than that in public hospitals but lower than that in Western countries. And international health insurance is accepted in Vietnam private hospitals. In addition, Doctors and medical staff working at private hospitals in Vietnam can often speak English, French or other languages, which makes medical examination easier for foreigners in Vietnam.
Health services in remote areas
The quality and availability of healthcare is especially poor in rural areas. The government have designed a series of new plans to develop the healthcare system in remote parts of the country. Local clinics and hospitals are currently operated in many districts while volunteer doctors are also recruited.
Health insurance in Vietnam
Despite acceptance of international health insurance have been yet available in all of the hospitals in Vietnam, at some hospitals such as France – Vietnam Hospital (both in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City) it is. Travelers should check with both the hospital and their insurance provider which they are offered.
Medicines and pharmacies in Vietnam
Buying medicines without a prescription in Vietnam is uncomplicated and straightforward but sometimes visitors should be cautious about counterfeit or expired drugs. Basic medicines, Western medicines and Eastern medicines are all on sale across the country. Pharmacies and drugstores are easily found and well stocked in big cities in Vietnam, especially in shopping streets, residential areas and around hospitals.
Emergency services in Vietnam
In Vietnam the emergency services number is 115. As traffic in Vietnam seems to be highly complicated together with severe road congestion, ambulances in Vietnam occasionally do not make timely arrival. A faster and more efficient private ambulance service can be provided by private hospitals. In some cases, using taxis to reach the nearest medical establishment for emergency medical treatment is necessary.