Statement of Dr Kidong Park on the occasion of Kick-off meeting of the UHC Acceleration Project in Moc Chau, Son La

Dr Kidong Park
20 July 2018

I would like to thank Vice Minister Tuan for chairing today’s meeting. I would also thank to Dr Oanh and colleagues from the Health Strategy and Policy Institute, for organizing this meeting. My big thanks should go to Dr Nguyen Trung Khai and Son La Department of Health team, Dr Nguyen Quoc Tuan and Moc Chau District Health team for hosting this meeting. I should also express my appreciation to representatives from Ninh Binh provinces and Hai Phong provinces for their coming after long journey in rainy season.

We, WHO, selected Moc Chau instead of Ha Noi for the venue of today’s meeting – kick-off meeting in implement the universal health coverage acceleration project with some reason.

Last March, more precisely on 30th and 31st March, Vice Minister Tuan and I visited Son La province and Moc Chau together with Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, and Mdm Nguyen Thuy Anh, Chairwoman of the National Assembly Social Affairs Committee. We then discussed how to accelerate universal health coverage in Viet Nam.

Universal health coverage is about ensuring all people can get quality health services, where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship. We agreed that strengthening primary health care, in particular strengthening commune health stations, is the key to achieve UHC in Viet Nam.

On the world health day this year, 7 April, WHO released UHC country profiles of each country with UHC index. The UHC index score of Viet Nam was 73. Viet Nam has still gaps of 27 to achieve UHC even though the UHC score of Viet Nam was higher than the Regional average. The area of weakness in Viet Nam was NCD management service at primary care level.

Strengthening primary health care
Strengthening grass root level health care system

Actually this is not a totally new concept. In December 2016, the Prime Minister issued a decision on grass root health care system reform. In October 2017, the Party Central Committee adopted the Resolution 20. The Party Resolution 20 identified strengthening primary health care a top priority for attaining better health for all the Vietnamese people.

The question in front of us is “HOW”.
How to strengthen primary health care

WHO recommended the follows

  • Increase public funds, especially health insurance fund, allocation to primary care services to reach 30% of total health insurance funds
  • Improve Quality of Care through Service Package, Care Model and Human Resource

We still have question on “HOW” though it is much clearer now.
After consultation with the Ministry of Health and the Health Strategy and Policy Institute, we agree to begin our journey of UHC acceleration in three provinces – Son La, Ninh Binh and Hai Phong.

  • A mountainous province
  • A rural low land province
  • An urban province

First several steps of our journey would be data collection and analysis in order to find answers to our question on “HOW”

  • How to increase health insurance allocation to primary care
  • How to improve quality of care at primary care

I hope that we will get some answers to our questions.
We will then continue our journey to make difference in your three provinces first and then in the whole Viet Nam.

We wanted to begin our journey from the place where we discussed this issue seriously with Vice Minister Tuan, Mdm Thyuy Anh and Dr Shin Young-soo.

We invite you to this journey. It is not an easy journey.
I believe, however, we can make difference if we think hard together and work hard together.

Thank you!