HIV/AIDS infected people to have health insurance:Health Dept

Vietnam strives to have more HIV/AIDS infected people with health insurance in a bid to eliminate HIV/AIDS epidemic.

A HIV patients receive drug at a clinic in the city (Photo: SGGP)
A HIV patients receive drug at a clinic in the city (Photo: SGGP)

Because financial aid from international groups has been cut thus treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS will reliant on domestic sources forcing patients to have health insurance which ensures for a prolonged treatment. However, the rate of HIV/AIDS infected people having health insurance is low causing difficulties for the country’s efforts to end the epidemic.

There are almost 29,402 people living with HIV/ AIDS in Ho Chi Minh City, said Duong Minh Hai from the city’s HIV/AIDS Prevention Center at a seminar to value the treatment of HIV/AIDS people with health insurance in 2016 lately. Of 29,402 people, 27,685 people received consultation. 19,583 city residents were consulted the treatment of the disease, just 13,639 had health insurance accounting for 70 percent yet only 4,985 used health insurance card.

Though the city authority has adopted many measures to improve treatment quality for these special patients including encouraging them to buy health insurance, to set up more medical clinics to provide drug and developing hospitals’ capability in providing comprehensive treatment plan for nearly 30,000 people yet it has not achieved its set target.

Currently, around 70 percent of HIV-positive people have bought health insurance while the remaining 30 percent have not bought. 

To meet the target that most of people living with HIV/AIDS to have health insurance in 2018, deputy director of the Department of Health in HCMC Nguyen Huu Hung petitioned the People’s Committee to use the insurance compare’s spare cash in 2016 to buy health insurance for poor HIV people who are unable to afford a health insurance card. In addition, some patients are not eligible to buy health insurance because they have no ID card and patients are treated in rehabilitation centers. The city has petitioned the Ministry of Health to have measures to help these above-mentioned people.

So far, HCMC has 46 medical clinics to provide treatment for outpatients yet only 20 of them have service for people with insurance cards. In 2016, additional 16 infirmaries in hospitals in district had been provided treatment for HIV people and 11 of them had service for medically insured people. It is scheduled that in the second quarter, 2017, 5 clinics will provide treatment for people with insurance cards and two private clinics will be operational.

Deputy Head of the Insurance Company Dr. Luu Thi Thanh Huyen said that the Ministry of Health should give more drugs for insured patients who are treated in infirmaries in districts to meet their demand.

As per the Department of HIV/ AIDS Prevention, as of January 2017, 116,000 people living with HIV nationwide were treated with ARV in 397 infirmaries and 33 clinics to provide drug. However, just 59 clinics provided treatment for insurance card holders.

HCMC has spent VND13 billion ($572,259) to support HIV/AIDS people to buy insurance cards. Head of the Department of Health’s Finance Ward Dinh Thi Lieu said that following the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health’s guideline, the city adopted a plan to provide free insurance cards to HIV people who are city locals. The amount is taken from the Fund for Treatment for the poor and the insurance company’s abundance.

Additionally, the city health sector plans to pay 20 percent for special patients’ ARV drug. It is estimated VND3 - 18 million a person a year.

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