Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Vietnam - Too many medical schools established, training quality questionable

In Vietnam, medical schools train their students for six years but in developed countries, the training time is 12-13 years, half of which is for practice.

In Japan, only one more school has been allowed to train doctors after 40 years, though there are many schools training technicians and nurses in the country.

In Vietnam, interdisciplinary schools are also allowed to train doctors. Meanwhile, existing medical schools don’t have sufficient laboratories and material facilities to satisfy the requirements, according to Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien.

Nguyen Minh Loi, head of the Science, Technology & Training Department under the Ministry of Health (MOH), said the number of schools producing medical workers at university level has been increasing rapidly since 2008, from 8 to 24.

Most recently, the Hanoi Business & Technology University unexpectedly announced the enrollment for general medicine & pharmacy training majors, commencing from the 2016-2017 academic year. However, the school later had to stop the plan amid public protest.

However, Vietnam is still seriously lacking medical workers. There are only eight doctors and 2.2 pharmacists for every 10,000 people. The average figure in some other countries is 20-50 doctors per 10,000 people. The lack of medical workers is especially serious in remote areas and in some certain specialities such as infectious diseases, psychiatry, testing and preventive medicine.

Professor Lincoln C.Chen from Harvard University commented that Vietnam needs to clarify what it needs to focus on – training specialists for academic research or physicians to treat diseases. If Vietnam targets the latter goal, it will have to pay attention to upgrading the teaching staff and facilities for practicing. 

Tran Binh Giang, deputy director of the Vietnam-Germany Friendship Hospital, one of the most prestigious hospitals in Vietnam, said that the medical labor force still cannot satisfy the requirements.

With knowledge received from six years of studying, mostly theoretical, it is obvious that school graduates cannot satisfy the requirements and they need to learn from senior colleagues.

Meanwhile, Giang commented, it is unclear how much time they should study, because there are no standards to ‘measure’ doctors’ capability.

In the latest news, Vietnam is considering a new training model under which students finishing four-year study at medical schools would receive acbachelor’s degree.

Those, who want to continue studying, will have two choices, either to study to become physicians or to become researchers. The former will study at schools managed by MOH and the latter at schools managed by MOET (Ministry of Education and Training).

You can find older posts regarding ASEAN politics and economics news at SBC blog, and older posts regarding health and healthcare at IIMS blog. I thank you.

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