Sai Gon Giai Phong newspaper’s Science and Education Department has selected the top ten events in health care of the year 2011.
1) Outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease
Hand, foot and mouth disease was added into the list of dangerous pandemics in 2003. Year 2011 has seen the pandemic spreading out robustly through all 63 cities and provinces nationwide with more than 90,000 cases. A total of 153 children died. Ho Chi Minh City topped in the number of cases - almost 11,500 ones, including 29 deaths. The pandemic has started to spread out robustly since May and June but many provinces did not announce an outbreak. In November, Ninh Thuan became the first province to announce this as the pandemic was out of control. The Government officially joined the efforts to fight the pandemic in Nov. as Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan chaired an urgent meeting with leaders and health officials from the central region, Central Highlands and the south to counter the epidemic.
Treatments for a hand, foot and mouth disease case at the Children’s Hospital 1 in Ho Chi Minh City (Photo: SGGP)
2) Cardiac valve transplant with no self-rejection
Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi used a patient’s cardiac valve to transplant on the way-out of the patient’s left ventricle at the heart. The doctors did not use an artificial cardiac valve to avoid self-rejection. Experts say this method is difficult to apply in the world but Vietnamese doctors have succeeded, bringing many chances to heart patients and cutting treatment costs significantly. This method has so far been applied for five patients.
3) C-section on Truong Sa (Spratly Islands) aired live
The first live TV broadcasting for a Cesarean section surgery on Truong Sa (Spratly Islands) was made on April 4. The surgery was conducted at the clinic on Truong Sa Lon Island to help a mother deliver her baby. Teleconferenced instructions for the C-section came from doctors of Military Hospital 175 under the Ministry of National Defense. The mother is Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy and the father is Nguyen Tan Thi, 39. They are Truong Sa residents. The event opened a new chapter in providing health care services to residents and soldiers on Truong Sa Islands in the Vietnamese waters.
The baby after delivery on Truong Sa Lon Island
4) New Health Minister and working trips
Associate Prof. Dr. Nguyen Thi Kim Tien became the Minister of Health on August 3 with National Assembly approval. She has been facing hot and complicated issues such as treatments, overloaded hospitals, health insurance, and food hygiene. The problems have existed for years and are deemed to be so hard to solve. She has initially built hopes in the public via her working trips on hospital overloading in the south and the north in Oct. and Nov., as well as a working trip to Kim Bien Market in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 5 to oversee the trade of substances and chemicals used in foods.
Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien (R) pays a working visit to the Ho Chi Minh City Orthopedics Hospital (Photo: SGGP)
5) Drug sector’s incidents
The pharmaceutical sector has seen various incidents. For example, eight pharmaceutical companies in the south denounced a license on Pseudoerphedrine, a sympathomimetic drug of the phenethylamine and amphetamine chemical classes, and production of the substance. The denouncement was related to the Drug Administration under the Ministry of Health. While authorities were looking at the case, there was denouncement that Deputy Minister of Health Cao Minh Quang had borrowed money from enterprises and used a fake certificate for doctorate. Recently, police started to probe accusations that some drug companies were involved in trading and production of amphetamine chemical classes, and the companies include a company that had denounced the Drug Administration.
6) Medical workers under attack
Many medical workers and doctors have been under attack from outside at hospitals and clinics. The most serious case took place in Nam Can District of the southern province of Ca Mau. Late June, Duong Thi Thu Hien, 17, died at Nam Can Hospital and many of her relatives flocked to the hospital to break it as they thought she died out of the hospital’s irresponsibility. Police prosecuted almost 30 people involved in breaking the hospital and a doctor’s house. In another case, Mong Cai General Hospital in the northern province of Quang Ninh suffered from similar attacks in August when a group of thugs broke the hospital and beat doctors who treated patient called Tien, a provincial resident who died at the hospital after a traffic accident.
7) DEHP and chemicals in food
In early June, the Food Hygiene Bureau found out DEHP, a chemical that poses risks to human health, in foods. New Choice Foods Company in the Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park in Ben Cat District, Binh Duong Province was the first enterprise to be found with use of DEHP in jellies. After that, DDEHP was found in a series of other products such as juices, candies and instant noodles. Harmful chemicals have already been found in what people eat and drink, and it is hard to know what will be discovered next.
8) Strange diseases appear
The first to mention is Nguyen Van Hai from the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong. He has an 80-kilogram tumor on his leg. Hoan My General Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City took him in for free treatments. Vietnamese doctors and doctors from the US have hold different consultations for the case but no surgery is made because of high risk of death. Another case is Nguyen Thi Phuong, 26, from the southern province of Ben Tre. She looks like an 80-year-old woman. The Ho Chi Minh City Medical University Hospital has provided her with free treatments but her conditions do not improve much. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Mai, 27, from the central province of Quang Nam, is another woman suffering a similar disease. Doctors so far cannot make her conditions better.
Another strange disease is the case of a son called Hoang from the central province of Quang Binh. His back is full of hair like a wolf man. Meanwhile, in Soc Trang Province in the south, Thach Thi Sa Ly lives with thousands of eruptions on her body.
9) Newly-born baby kidnapped at hospital
Mother Nguyen Thi Thom’s two-day-old baby was kidnapped at the National Obstetrics Hospital in Hanoi in November. An unknown woman disguised herself as a nurse to kidnap the baby and nobody knew about that. Police later found the baby and returned the child to the mother. It was an alarm on security at hospitals, especially obstetrics hospitals.
10) Saying no to “envelop” at hospitals
The fact that doctors and medical workers receive money in envelops to provide better services has really become a hot problem in society. However, it was for the first time that five hospitals have committed to say no to the envelops. They are all in Hanoi: Viet Duc, Bach Mai, K Hospital, E Hospital and National Obstetrics Hospital. They say their doctors and staff do not receive that money. Will the principle be observed?
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