The MoH’s Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control (VAAC) held a meeting in Can Tho city on June 13 to discuss measures to ensure sustainable financial sources for HIV patients’ access to anti-HIV medicines.
Data of the VAAC show that by the end of March 2018, health insurance coverage reached 83.4 percent across the country. Hanoi and the provinces of Cao Bang, Bac Kan, Lang Son and Ca Mau recorded the highest coverage of 100 percent. While 30 other provinces had the coverage of over 90 percent, the rate was under 70 percent in only five provinces, namely Dong Nai, Quang Tri, Thanh Hoa, Binh Thuan and Ben Tre.
The health insurance coverage among HIV patients receiving antiretroviral (ARV) treatment nationwide was 83.4 percent by March 2018.
There are 191 HIV/AIDS treatment centres providing ARV therapy covered by health insurance at present, and they are expected to give this treatment to more than 48,000 patients in 2019.
Duong Thuy Anh, head of the VAAC’s finance-accounting division, said although the health insurance coverage among HIV patients has grown fast, the increase remains unstable and unsustainable. This rate was 84 percent in September 2017 but dropped to 82 percent in late December 2017 and then rebounded to reach 83.4 percent in March 2018, she said.
It will be not easy to achieve the goal of all HIV patients covered by health insurance by 2020 when about 10 percent of persons with HIV do not have personal papers, which will make them ineligible to buy health insurance, Anh added.
At the meeting, many participants said the MoH and the Vietnam Social Security should seek ways to help those without personal papers to participate in health insurance.
They noted the most important thing is that the MoH should not force all members of the families of HIV patients to buy health insurance, instead of making this compulsory as in the existing Circular 15, which guides insured medical examination and treatment for HIV-infected people and persons using relevant medical services, because some patients cannot afford buying household health insurance.
Sharing the same view, Stephanie De Goes, Country Coordinator of the US President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), said that, to have all people living with HIV covered by health insurance, the ministry should remove bottlenecks in Circular 15 to facilitate their access to health insurance.-VNA
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