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Dialogue discusses roadmap to universal health coverage

Released at: 09:05, 17/05/2019

Dialogue discusses roadmap to universal health coverage

Photo: Tram Nguyen

Initiated by health ministry, dialogue held on May 16 in Hanoi.

by Thu Hoang

The Primary Healthcare Partnership Dialogue, initiated by the Ministry of Health in cooperation with the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care, and Novartis, took place in Hanoi on May 16.

The dialogue was held ahead of the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva from May 20 to 28 and the UN General Assembly in New York in September, with the key theme of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

“Vietnam is committed to achieving UHC by 2030,” said Deputy Minister of Health, Associate Professor Nguyen Truong Son. “We have already achieved great success in achieving most of the Millennium Development Goals, and we wish to continue this by achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in health.”

Committed partners discussed the formation of a Working Group for Primary Healthcare Transformation, under the existing Health Partnership Group mechanism. This is a public-private partnership between the Ministry of Health, Harvard Medical School, the WEF, and Novartis, to help strengthen primary healthcare to achieve UHC in Vietnam.

Vietnam is poised to build on its exceptional track record of improving population health and accelerate towards an unprecedented level of access to high quality care for all of its citizens, according Dr. Andrew Ellner, Director of the Harvard Medical School Program in Global Primary Care & Social Change.

“With its extraordinary commitment to equity and strengthening the frontlines of healthcare delivery, we’re excited to support this effort to transform the safety, quality, and experience of primary healthcare, by bringing international best practices to how primary healthcare teams are organized and digital tools leveraged,” he said.

Multi-stakeholder collaborations are seen as an integral part of Novartis’s business model, said Dr. Harald Nusser, Head of Novartis Social Business. “Building on our ongoing work in Vietnam and the Asian region, we are keen to bring our expertise into this new partnership,” he went on. “I believe Novartis can support the government in helping strengthen primary care and contribute to measuring the impact the new model will have on the quality of care delivered to Vietnamese patients.”

With many achievements over the years, Vietnam is seen as a leader in UHC, according to Dr. Dessislava Dimitrova, Practice Lead, Health Systems Transformation, at the WEF. “We believe Vietnam is setting a great example in working together with companies, civil society, and academia to achieve affordable, high quality universal health care,” she said. “The role of the WEF as a neutral platform to enable this type of multi-stakeholder partnership is very important, as governments increasingly need to work with the private sector and other stakeholders to support the transformation of their health systems.”

In addition to discussing public-private partnerships to help strengthen primary healthcare to achieve UHC in Vietnam, the dialogue also gained consensus around a shared vision for primary healthcare transformation in Vietnam and alignment with the Ministry of Health’s strategies and priorities and planned activities to complement and strengthen the ministry’s existing demonstration projects and initiatives for primary care transformation in 30 cities and provinces.

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