The healthcare in Vietnam combines aspects of Eastern and Western medicines. Vietnamese government is currently working to develop a universal healthcare plan, which will cover all residents with basic medical care. Most Vietnamese citizens nowadays have to pay for medical services themselves, at both private and public hospitals. Yet, it is better for expats to take out their private health insurance before their Vietnam travel. This will cover them for treatment at private healthcare establishments.
The standard of private hospital in Vietnam is excellent. Private hospitals are usually located in Hanoi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City and big cities and are staffed by international doctors from USA, Korea, Japan and France. Vietnam is also home to many internationally trained doctors who speak a variety of languages. You will not waste too much of a hard time finding a doctor or a hospital when living in these cities. In addition, private hospitals tend to cater for needs of expats better than public hospitals, and do accept international health insurance. Prices are still much lower than the rates charged in Western countries.
Expats long-term living in Vietnam find that the standard of public hospital in Vietnam does not match that of those found in North America or Western Europe. It is generally underfunded and poorly equipped in compared with private hospitals. In additions, doctors and medical staff working at public hospitals in Vietnam will conventionally only speak Vietnamese. The service quality and availability of healthcare is especially poor in rural areas, and in some of the most remote parts of the country healthcare is non-existent. Therefore, it will be a wise decision if you choose private hospitals instead.
Most expats should organize their international health insurance before arriving in Vietnam. As a result, there is no national health insurance plan in this country. When using hospitals in Vietnam, expats should check with both the hospital and their insurance provider whether they are covered. Additionally, they should ensure their health insurance that they purchase covers them for treatment outside Vietnam. That is the reason why many expats, as well as wealthier Vietnamese people, prefer to travel to Bangkok or Singapore for specialist treatment and medical emergencies.
You had better bring prescriptions along with you if you are on a medication before your moving. This is also important depending on the type of medication you are on; while many Western drugs are available, many are not or in very short supply in Vietnam. Some others may be prohibited. If your type of drugs is available in Vietnam, you should take a visit a local doctor for your expat health insurance in Vietnam to be covered with the local version. You should also check your local pharmacy first for many drugs considered prescriptions in Western communities are available over the counter in Vietnam.
Pharmacy in Vietnam is generally well stocked and not difficult to find out, especially in big cities such as Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. Pharmacies can be also found on any major shopping streets or malls. Unlike other countries, purchasing medicine over the counter without a prescription is fairly straightforward. An important note, expats should be aware of the expiration of drugs at these stores. You always make sure to check the date on the packaging before making a purchase. In addition, those who would like to be extra careful can either take the necessary medicines from their home country, or visit a pharmacy in one of prestigious private hospitals or clinics.
An important note, the emergency number in Vietnam is 115. Both the public and private ambulance fleet will be always ready for any emergency situations. Just calm down and be assured when accidentally getting unexpected troubles.