Local Health sector’s successes pave the way for medical tourism
VietReader 6-08-2020, 15:30
Local Health sector’s successes pave the way for medical tourism
Photo: Four Seasons Resort

Stephen Cameron was the 91st COVID-19 patient in Vietnam and also a witness to the miracles that Vietnam’s health sector has achieved in the fight against the dangerous pandemic.

The story of the journey to save the life of the British pilot has attracted special attention of international media. “People told me I was the most severe patient in Asia at that time. The vast majority of the country knows about patient 91, that’s me.” Cameron said.

After nearly 100 days of treatment, the British pilot had fully recovered and returned to the UK in mid-July. The recovery of this special patient seems like a medical miracle, earning Vietnam’s health sector many compliments from the international community.

Stephen Cameron is just one case showing the qualifications and talents of the Vietnamese health sector in an effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. During the peak period of the pandemic from March to April, hundreds of other foreigners, including tourists and those living in Vietnam, sent special thanks to the team of medical doctors in Vietnam who had taken care of them and cured them.

Shan Coralie Barker, a British tourist who was successfully treated in Vietnam, said, “I thought I was going to die, but the Vietnamese doctors were amazing, they saved my husband and me. We are very lucky to be treated in Vietnam. From the bottom of our hearts, we sincerely thank you.”

A nation fully prepared

After the initial success in controlling the pandemic, the Vietnamese health sector once again surprised the international community by successfully manufacturing a set of Real-time RT-PCR kits for rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 within two hours. The kit is considered to have many advantages compared to the CDC kit used by the US and the World Health Organization and has been exported to 20 other countries around the world.

Furthermore, Vietnam is working on creating a vaccine against COVID-19. It is hoped that by the end of 2021, the “Made-in-Vietnam” vaccine will be fully manufactured and put into use. The capacity of the Vietnamese health sector is also reflected in the proactive organisation of safe flights to bring back overseas Vietnamese and quickly respond to complicated movements of the pandemic.

On July 29, a flight carrying 219 Vietnamese from Equatorial Guinea to Vietnam, including 129 people with COVID-19 infection, landed at Noi Bai International Airport – all passengers were properly isolated immediately. Meanwhile, a new outbreak is threatening to cause more disruption after the first case of community infection in Danang was discovered after months without any such incident.

Nguyen Lan Hieu, director of the Hanoi Medical University Hospital, said that the country’s wise choices despite modest and limited resources helped Vietnam to have a new face in the eyes of the international community, especially in the health sector. He added that this marks a great opportunity for Vietnam to promote its healthcare to attract foreign patients as well as overseas Vietnamese medical treatment.

Building typical products

According to the statistics from the Ministry of Health, before the pandemic, each year Vietnam earned more than $1 billion from foreign patients. Particularly, in the first 6 months of 2019, there were nearly 90,000 medical examinations and 10,170 foreigners for inpatient treatment at Vietnamese hospitals.

Soline Linh Le, director of Vietnam Dental Tourism, said the company’s customers in 2019 increased by 300 per cent compared to the previous year. Particularly overseas Vietnamese and visitors from the US accounted for the highest proportion, while Australian customers accounted for the majority of foreign visitors using dental services provided by Vietnam Dental Tourism.

Vietnam Dental Tourism affiliates with multiple clinics across the country, and qualifies them by strictly following group standards that are internationally proven and endorsed. Dental tourists are well supported throughout their travel, especially useful for post-treatment concerns and follow-ups.

“The main reason why international visitors prefer dental services in Vietnam is that the cost of such services is very high in developed countries. In addition, most of the dental services abroad are not covered by insurance,” Le said.

The company’s director estimates that the average price of dental services in Vietnam is only about half of that in Thailand and about two-thirds of that in Malaysia.

According to experts, there are many reasons for Vietnam’s medical tourism to become an attractive service sector for foreigners. Besides a number of advantages in tourism resources, professional skills, equipment, and updated facilities in some local hospitals have become renowned through published medical achievements in liver and heart transplantations and other complex surgical procedures.

By Hoang Oanh