ADB pledges health support as foreign aid falters

HA NOI (VNS)— The Asian Development Bank (ADB) would continue to support Viet Nam’s reform and development efforts in face of declining aid now that the nation is classed as a middle-income country.

The projects backed would include those related to healthcare, the bank’s Country Director Tomoyuki Kimura said at the Health Partnership Group’s second meeting in 2013 held yesterday in Ha Noi.

ADB support would focus on primary healthcare support for Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), control of transmitted diseases, support for preventive services, human resources and reducing the overload in central hospitals, according to Kimura, who acted as co-chair of the meeting.

“Financial support from international sources for health care, equivalent to 3 per cent of the country’s total health expenses, would continue to reduce, especially financial aid, since Viet Nam has become a middle-income country,” said Kimura.

So he said the sector should take full advantage of support for the reform process

ADB currently provides about US$40 million for health services in Viet Nam each year.

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Quang Cuong told international health partners that becoming a middle-income country posed new challenges in Viet Nam.

For example, he said, difficulties have risen in ensuring preventive medicine for non-communicable diseases, effectiveness of medical services and the participation of the private sector in health care.

There is also incomplete accomplishment of MDGs in lowering the rates of maternal mortality in ethnic groups and malnutritionment among children.

Cuong said there remained a lack of co-ordination among related projects, but the health ministry’s efforts to intensify supervision of projects should be appreciated.

He praised the Health Partnership Group in creating an open and flexible forum to talk about priorities in Viet Nam’s health sector. The group expects to reach Busan principles in raising health care effectiveness.

The meeting was attended by representatives from foreign embassies, development agencies, international banks and United Nations organisations as well as local bodies. — VNS