Healthcare in Vietnam



Within the past decades, Vietnam's healthcare system has immensely undergone great changes to improve the lives of its people.

Ten years ago, Vietnam's healthcare was almost non-existent. Now, it boasts of a health index higher than other developing nations with the same per-capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The overall quality of health in Vietnam is satisfactory, but the problem of malnutrition remains prevalent in the provinces.

Although the country has won the battle in combating cases of malaria after the introduction of anti-malarial drugs and treatment, it still in the ropes of reducing the number of tuberculosis (TB) cases.

The government arm, The Ministry of Health (MOH), oversees the governance and guidance of the healthcare and health industry. The MOH is also tasked with creating health programs. To date, it has promulgated the National Strategy on Nutrition for the 2001 - 2010 and the National Policy on Injury Prevention 2002 - 2010.

For expats, it is best to consult with your doctor in your home country before moving to Vietnam for any underlying conditions. Also, if one deems necessary to get a series of vaccination against serious communicable diseases such as hepatitis A & B, malaria, typhoid fever, tetanus, diphtheria, and polio, it is must be done at least 6 months before relocating to Vietnam.

Medical Service

Medical care costs in Vietnam are relatively cheap, compared to the cost in one's home country, especially for those coming from the US or UK. Inexpensive as it is, the quality of health care is above average standard. There are plenty of international hospitals and clinics Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) with English-speaking doctors- most being American, French and German.

There are quite a number of good doctors in Vietnam, well trained in traditional Oriental medicines as well as up-to-date methods.

Expats with conditions such as cardiac and stroke care can rely on the excellent standards at the Franco-Vietnam hospital in Saigon. Other hospitals in Ho Chi Minh include Saigon International Clinic and Gia Dinh International Hospital.

In Hanoi, one can go to Family Medical Practice, International SOS and Vietnam-Korea Friendship Hospital for medical treatment and emergencies.

Pharmacies are accessible throughout the country. One thing to note, patients or a family member must dutifully check the expiration date of the purchased medicines.

Private health insurance that covers emergency evacuation and repatriation is essential before moving overseas. For expats without health insurance, one is expected to pay in cash.


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Health Issues 

Dengue fever has claimed lives in Vietnam in recent years. Malaria (except in urban cities) and Japanese encephalitis are also a common occurrence, especially during Monsoon Season.

Expats and travelers can use mosquito repellant to shun mosquito bites during the day. Avoid areas like the southern Mekong Delta region where typhoid is a problem. Those arriving from an infected area require a yellow fever vaccination certificate. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over 1 year of age arriving within 6 days of visiting infected areas.

Water is portable, but visitors usually prefer to drink bottled water. Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice must be boiled or otherwise sterilized.

Vietnam's healthcare may not even come close to the state-of-the-art medical facilities of the West, but for nation that is back on track to progress, and finding its footing in the global medical standard, its first baby steps are ensuring that all lives, local and foreign, are taken care of.