Vietnam needs 20,000 health workers for HIV/AIDS fight

Vietnam needs at least 20,000 health workers for its HIV/AIDS programmes by 2020 as new HIV infected cases continue to rise and need due treatment, said the chief of the HIV/AIDS watchdog.

This was estimated by Dr. Nguyen Thanh Long, Chief of the Health Ministry’s HIV/AIDS Control Department at a seminar discussing the training of health workers for the fight against HIV/AIDS in Hanoi on July 6.

At present, health workers working in preventive medicine, including anti-HIV/AIDS work, number just 1,300 nationwide, or 21 in average for each province or city, Long said, underscoring the lack of human resources as a great challenge to the nation’s HIV/AIDS prevention and combat progamme to 2020.

Dr. Tran Thanh Duong, Deputy Chief of the Health Ministry’s Preventive Medicine Department blamed insufficient investment in the field, including the lack of text books and training facilities, for the shortage of preventive health workers for HIV/AIDS programmes.

He referred to the fact that only 13 medical schools nationwide provide training courses in this field, ranging from post-graduates to lab technicians, with about 250 graduates a year.

Dr. Luu Ngoc Hoat, Deputy Head of the Hanoi Medical University, which has since 1994 carried out dozens of HIV/AIDS research and training programmes, agreed that preventive medicine lessons in his university lack coherent content and updates on real activities, causing difficult for students who are already burdened by heavy training curricula.

The Health Ministry pledged that it will work out appropriate hospital-university training forms together with scholarships and mechanisms to encourage more students to go to preventive medicine and HIV to meet the nation’s needs in the field.