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Education - Science and HealthSunday, 03/06/2005, 08:07

Great achievements of HCM City’s health service

FV, a general hospital of international standard in HCM City, has been able to balance its budget after one year of operation<br>
Cai luong  The harmonious combination of Vietnamese culture and the characteristics of the Oriental and Western cultures is the art of

Great achievements of HCM City�s health service

FV hospital

Hospital Reaches Breakeven Point

FV, a general hospital of international standard in HCM City, has been able to balance its budget after one year of operation
Modern hospitals must be like hotels, says Reda Amalou, chief architect of AW2, an international project design company based in France. That's part of the criteria for present-day health care centers. As patients and their relatives have to spend some time there, hospitals should be equipped with facilities that create a clean environment and ensure their convenience.
And that's what can be found at FV, the French-invested hospital in District 7, HCM City. FV has installed an air conditioning system capable of maintaining appropriate temperature, humidity and atmospheric cleanliness. The hospital also has a power network that can secure uninterrupted supply. Its water reservoir is enough for three consecutive days without outside supply.
One year into its operation and FV has reached the breakeven point even though it uses only 20% of the number of beds and four of its nine operating theaters. This is one of the main achievements of his hospital, says Dr. Jean-Marcel Guillon, FV general director. Since its opening date, FV has had 28,000 clients, of which 85% are Vietnamese. "We've made the right decision to invest in Vietnam where there is a demand for international hospitals charging reasonable fees," Guillon says.
The bulk of FV's clients are Saigonese and residents in HCM City's neighboring provinces such as Dong Nai. Some come from the Mekong Delta and more distant provinces and cities such as Hue, Danang and even Hanoi.
Of the remaining 15%, many are overseas Vietnamese. They return from the U.S. and France, for instance, to visit Vietnam and have diseases treated or have plastic surgery, a form of health care tourism. Others are overseas Vietnamese and foreigners working in HCM City.
Guillon says treatment tours are relatively popular in Asia, Middle Europe and Brazil. "Many have come to these countries to have plastic surgery that has comparable quality to those in developed countries but at more reasonable prices."
This is a potential market for FV. But Guillon says that FV is set up with the purpose of serving Vietnamese. "It's quite good if we can attract patients from other places because we can reduce fees for Vietnamese."
"In addition, some Cambodians have come to FV for treatment," Guillon says. "We plan to open a representative office in Phnom Penh in the near future to take care of the logistics for Cambodian clients who want to be treated at FV."
Guillon says that from the very start, FV has focused its effort on marketing to make it known to potential clients. "We must let people know about our hospital. First, FV is already open. Second, this isn't a place set up exclusively for foreigners. Third, FV is a hospital with all the wards, not a clinic." He also mentions a factor he considers important in building FV's reputation: the clients themselves. "Those who feel satisfied with FV's services will speak well of the hospital," he says.
This year, FV will undertake two big projects. "We will invite some Vietnamese doctors to join us," Guillon says. "The invitees are experts in the field and have spare time. Occasionally, they come to FV to perform, for instance, operations using our modern facilities. We consider this an important task, and with the project we hope to build a network of contributors for FV."
The second FV project relates to setting up a clinic in downtown HCM City, mostly for patient diagnoses, which is scheduled to open in September or October. FV has yet to finalize the location for the clinic. "But it's likely to be in District 3," Guillon says.
Further into the future, FV may open clinics in other places such as Can Tho, Vung Tau and Danang where some doctors have been trained by FV. "We want to build and consolidate the FV prestige via these personnel," Guillon says.

FV Hospital in a nutshell
FV Hospital is a 100% foreign-invested project. The construction of the US$40 million hospital started in September 2001 and was finished 18 months later.
FV can meet all demands for immediate and emergency health care services. It also provides on-site package services, from diagnosis and treatment to medicines.
FV operates 26 wards, 200 beds, nine operating theaters and an emergency ward working round the clock.

Tu Du Hospital for Women
Tu Du is the leading specialized clinic for obstetrics, gynecology and family planning for the provinces from Ninh Thuan southwards. In 1996, Tu Du was chosen to be the place for �reproductive health� development. Since being rewarded the Labor Hero title in 1985, Tu Du�s great efforts to apply the world�s leading medical technology have surprised its overseas partners and won the people�s trust.
For the past 10 years, Tu Du has served more than 250,000 mothers, 5,000 of whom were in critical heath condition; 110,000 women with a growth or cancer; and more than 3.6 million who came for medical check-ups. It has also tried to reduce the fatality rate of mothers to 0.123% and of newborn babies to under 38% in 1998. The hospital also invested in the Hoa Binh Village I, II, Zone D and Zone E external check-up facilities and assigned doctors to the remote areas and frontiers to run short-term and long-term training courses for minority ethnic midwives in Binh Phuoc, Lam Dong, and Binh Thuan.
Since 1997, Tu Du has had a sperm bank and carried out in-vitro fertilization with a success rate equal to other countries in the region with advanced health services.
Since April 1999 when the second phase of the test-tube program took place, Tu Du has carried out 350 in-vitro fertilizations, 30%-35% of which were successful. Tu Du Hospital also performed intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to help infertile couples. Fertilization occurred in 65% of injected eggs, and the success rate of in-vitro fertilization is 55%. For the past few years, more than 40 babies have been born through this method. That triumph helped Tu Du Hospital to get the Kovalevskaya prize in 1998.

HCM City Heart Institute
The institute has been regarded as the savior for many patients, especially the poor, since it came into being in 1992. With VND10 million (US$650), a patient can undergo valvular surgery at the institute with the most advanced technologies and facilities while elsewhere in the world the price can be US$15,000. To carry out those surgeries, the cardiologists of the institute apply not only their excellent skills but also their generosity, as most of the patients are so poor that they almost cannot afford to pay for their treatment. From early 1992 to September 1999, 7,028 people underwent surgery, of whom 2,439 patients enjoyed a 75% discount and 40% had free surgery. Since the number of patients was double the institute�s capacity, it had to hold 12 training courses to help 553 practitioners and doctors from hospitals in 35 provinces so that they could share the workload. Among those courses, the training course for Hue City Central Hospital�s heart surgeons was a great success. The HCM City Heart Institute is the pride of Vietnam�s health service and of all citizens, especially the poor.

Turning difficulties into advantages
The HCM City Oncology Center for the treatment of cancer was established through the integration of the oncology department of neoplasm of Binh Dan Hospital and the Cancer Institute. The center was put into operation in May 1985. The center has modern facilities and well-trained doctors and is responsible for diagnosing, discovering and treating cancer for patients in the southern provinces. At first, the center had only 430 internal beds and 200 external beds compared to the 900 internal beds and 1,400 external ones at present. Doctor Nguyen Chan Hung, the center�s director, said: �The HCM City Oncology Center is the first one to introduce laser treatment. Moreover, cancer is a chronic and gradually-developing disease. Most of the cases are discovered late. Therefore the treatment is time-consuming, causing an overload of cases for staff and facilities. However, here we have a good personnel with modern facilities, which can help us deal with the heavy workload.�
The center has increased the number of diagnostic rooms from four to 10 and surgery rooms from four to eight and the number of well-trained surgeons has grown from 25 to 103. The laser and chemical treatment technologies have continued to develop. After 15 years, the center has treated more than 300,000 sick people, 16,000 of whom were internal patients. The center has also carried out research on the cancer rate in the community. It has departments of breast cancer, and physical therapy, a nutrition center and so on, pursuing its role of being at the forefront of the prevention and treatment of cancer.

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