Dr Shin visits Viet Nam

HANOI, 2 May 2012 – WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Dr Shin Young-soo visited Viet Nam on 8 – 11 March 2012 to co-chair a high-level forum on social health insurance with the Minister of Health, Dr Nguyen Thi Kim Tien.

The forum gathered all major parties involved in shaping and managing health insurance at both the national and provincial levels, including the ministries of health and finance, the Prime Minister’s office, the Communist Party, the National Assembly, medical associations and research institutions.

The forum was also attended by health insurance experts from China, the Republic of Korea and Thailand, and by development partners such as the World Bank, UNICEF, the European Commission and the Asian Development Bank.

Dr Shin shared insights from three decades of experience helping to develop the Republic of Korea’s health insurance system. Discussions focused on current policy concerns, issues, obstacles and areas of reform to strengthen the health insurance system and achieve universal health coverage.

Dr Shin assured Dr Tien of WHO's commitment to support Viet Nam's drive for universal health coverage. Despite many challenges, Viet Nam’s strong commitment to universal coverage and the support of international partners would eventually enable the entire Vietnamese population to have access to needed health services at reasonable cost, Dr Shin predicted.

During a November 2011 visit, Dr Shin and Dr Tien had agreed to hold the forum. At that time, Dr Shin visited health stations, the Viet Nam Social Security and the Ministry of Health to better understand how health insurance functions in Viet Nam and how the local health-care system serves communities.