Vietnam at a Glance
Healthcare in Vietnam
Vietnam is currently working to develop a universal healthcare system, which will cover all residents and provide them with basic healthcare. For that purpose, Vietnam works closely with Thailand’s government to model its universal healthcare after their example. The new law should be in force by 2014.
At the moment, the Vietnamese government only invests a small percentage of its GDP in healthcare. Most Vietnamese have to pay health services out of their own pocket, especially if they visit private clinics, most of which are better equipped. As an expatriate, your best bet is probably to take out private health insurance to cover your healthcare costs throughout your stay.
Quality of Medical Care
Vietnam has made great progress since the 1990s and is today generally providing good quality healthcare. The average life expectancy in Vietnam is 72, and the child mortality rate has decreased significantly. Still, the improvement of the current healthcare services is an important part of the reforms mentioned above.
This is especially necessary in rural areas of Vietnam. If you are one of those expats who have not moved to an urban center, you will soon notice that sufficient medical care is often not readily available in smaller towns and villages. Local hospitals and doctor’s practices are often not up to modern standards.
Doctors and Hospitals
You will not have too much of a hard time finding a doctor or a hospital if you live in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or any other big city in Vietnam. Doctors usually work in hospitals or joint practices. For instance, the Family Medical Practice in Hanoi has several doctors fit to provide services to the international community.
In Hanoi alone, there are 5 big hospitals which are very well equipped to deal with expatriates and their needs. Among them are two dental clinics and a branch of the International SOS Clinic. The latter employs both Vietnamese and expatriate staff. The languages spoken include Chinese, Russian, English, French, Korean, and Spanish, among others.
Common Diseases and Health Threats
While life in Vietnam is generally safe, there are various infectious diseases and health threats that are widespread. Hepatitis A and B are a big problem, especially in the countryside, where hygiene standards may not always be on par with those in the cities. Typhoid fever, dengue fever and malaria are also still extremely common. Make sure to talk to your doctor and get the necessary vaccination, so you can enjoy your new life in Vietnam without any worries.
Many Vietnamese also have to deal with the results of the Vietnam War and biological warfare. The biological weapon Agent Orange was widely used then and did not only destroy crops and fields. It also got into the food chain and into the human body. Today, it still leads to miscarriages and to children being born with physical disabilities.