Travel To Vietnam – Medicine

The healthcare system in Vietnam combines aspects of Eastern and Western medicine. Vietnam Medical Tourism offers a wide variety of health spas and high-quality medical care at extremely affordable prices. The country is the underdog in the medical tourism industry; however, don’t underestimate the quality of care that private Vietnamese hospitals provide. What makes Vietnam attractive for medical tourists are its abundance of health spas and its extremely low prices, which are less than Thailand and Singapore.

Health issues (and the quality of medical facilities) vary enormously depending on where you are in Vietnam. The major cities are generally not at high risk and have good facilities, though rural areas are another matter. Travelers tend to worry about contracting infectious diseases in Vietnam, but serious illnesses are rare. Accidental injury (especially traffic-related) account for most life-threatening problems. That said, a bout of sickness is a relatively common thing.

Hospitals in Vietnam are divided into two main types, namely, public hospitals and private hospitals.

Public Health Care Services

Public services include government insurance and public hospitals. Most Vietnam public hospitals do not meet the international standards with lack of services and equipment and are often overcrowded. Doctors and medical staff working at public hospitals will generally only speak Vietnamese. However, prices of treatments and health consultations in public hospitals are more reasonable.

Health insurance in Vietnam provided by the government are of three types: medical insurance, accident insurance and social insurance. The social insurance is compulsory for some people, both local and foreigners, as defined by Vietnam insurance law.

Emergency Services

The number of emergency dial in Vietnam is 115. However, ambulances in Vietnam usually have a slow response time, partially due to the heavy traffic. Therefore, it is recommended that you call a taxi to drive you to the nearest hospital in case of emergencies.

Some of the public hospitals in Vietnam include:

  • Bach Mai Hospital, largest in Hanoi
  • E Hospital
  • K Hospital – with three campuses is the largest and most comprehensive cancer hospital in the country
  • Family Medical Practice Hanoi
  • Mai Huong Hospital
  • Saint Paul Hospital
  • Thanh Nhan Hospital
  • Viet Duc Hospital

Private Health Care Services

As compared to public hospitals, services offered at private hospitals are more professional as patients get more care and attention, with foreign specialists and Vietnamese doctors who are mostly trained abroad and English-speaking staff. Some famous private hospitals in Vietnam include:

  • Hanoi French Hospital
  • Hanh Phuc Hospital
  • Vinmec Hospital
  • FV Hospital
  • Hoan Hospital
  • City International Hospital
  • Gia Dinh International Hospital
  • Family Medical Practice Vietnam
  • Franco-Vietnamese Hospital
  • Tam Tri Sai Gon General Hospital

Medicines and Pharmacies in Vietnam

Pharmacies in Vietnam are well stocked and easy to find, especially in big cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. They’re usually located on any major shopping street or in malls.

Health Hazards

It is best to avoid drinking tap water in Vietnam and buy bottled water instead. In most restaurants, ice is made using boiled water but travelers with sensitive stomachs might want to avoid having ice in their drinks to be on the safe side.

Sunburn, sunstroke and dehydration are a major health hazard in Vietnam. It can get very hot and travelers should always wear sunscreen with high UV protection, even on days when the weather looks overcast

Typhoid, dengue fever and malaria are still common in rural parts of Vietnam. Travelers spending long periods of time in the countryside should ensure that they are on a course of anti-malarial tablets.

Vaccinations for Vietnam

Travelers should not experience too much difficulty in bringing prescription medicine into Vietnam. It is best to carry a copy of the prescription and a letter from the doctor confirming that the medication is for personal use.

There are no special immunizations required for those travelling or moving to Vietnam. However, travelers should ensure that their vaccinations for the following diseases are up to date:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Tetanus
  • Diphtheria
  • Rabies (optional, but advisable for those travelling or working in rural areas)

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travelers arriving from yellow fever zones in South America or Africa.

The Department of Health in Ho Chi Minh City has opened to the public the first medical tourism center in the city, in the General Hospital Sai Gon. The center will serve locals and foreign visitors.

Ho Chi Minh City seeks to develop medical tourism because it considers tourism as a major industry. There needs to be concerted efforts by various official agencies and travel firms to realize its huge potential.

N/B: Before Travelling you need a Health Insurance

Don’t travel without health insurance – accidents do happen. If your health insurance doesn’t cover you for medical expenses abroad, get extra insurance.