UNDP helps Vietnam develop grassroots telemedicine

Grassroots telemedicine solution using 4.0 technology has helped address geographical distance, enabling commune health staff in mountainous areas to seek consultation from their colleagues at the district and higher levels.

This enhances people’s access to quality health diagnosis and treatment right at the commune health station and reducing the overloading at district and higher-level health facilities, said participants at a workshop on June 23 on the key results of Phase 2 of the grassroots telemedicine project, jointly implemented by the United Nations Development (UNDP) and the Electronic Health Administration (EHA) under the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Departments of Health of Ha Giang, Bac Kan, and Lang Son provinces.

So far, 483 grassroots medical facilities, equivalent to 89.5%, in the three localities have been trained and connected to provide telemedicine for people. 

Speaking at the workshop named “Grassroots Telemedicine – Phase 2 Results and Future Planning”, EHA Deputy Director General Nguyen Truong Nam said the implementation of grassroots telemedicine has had "very good initial results".

Since December 2020, the UNDP has cooperated with the EHA and the three provinces to develop and pilot a digital solution called “Doctor for Everyone”, including a secure video conferencing platform for multi-point calls to support professional consultations and regular meetings between district health centers, district general hospitals and commune health stations. This helps improve the quality of grassroots health service and complements the existing telehealth programme connecting national hospitals with provincial and some district hospitals.

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Patrick Haverman thanked the Departments of Health of Ha Giang, Bac Kan and Lang Son provinces for their strong commitment and close collaboration with the UNDP and the EHA in implementing the “Doctor for Everyone” solution in all districts and communes of the three provinces.

Building on this initial success, UNDP has mobilised additional financial resources through two further projects to support the ministry and provinces to scale up the grassroots telemedicine solution, thus further supporting the digital transformation in the health sector in the COVID-19 and Industrial Revolution 4.0 context. These include the project ‘COVID-19 Response for Strengthening Vaccine Access and Health System Capacity’, supported by the Government of Japan from March 2022 to March 2023, and the Korea – Vietnam Peace Village project supported by Government of the Republic of Korea from 2022 to 2026.

“Through these projects, UNDP in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health will support to replicate the 'Doctor for everyone' application in Thua Thien – Hue, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Ca Mau and Dak Lak provinces, with the aim to develop a nationwide grassroots telemedicine system to leave no one behind,” said Haverman.

He affirmed UNDP’s readiness to deepen its strategic partnership and cooperation with the Ministry of Health, contributing to the development of the health sector in Vietnam, with a particular focus on the healthcare system at the grassroots level.