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February 2020

Med War. 1992 Jul-Sep; 8(3): 169-74.

Health services in Vietnam.

Shellard EJ.

Medical and Scientific Aid for Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, Hounslow.

This paper reviews the existing health services in Vietnam against the background of 50 years of wars with Japan, France, the United States and neighbouring countries, leaving a devastated economy and thousands of war-wounded, prostitutes, drug addicts and orphans. Defoliation has affected soil fertility and caused miscarriages, stillbirths and deformities. Unexploded bombs still blow off peasants' legs. The prevalence of malaria is increased by the many bomb craters where mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. Superstitions in some ethnic groups contribute to childhood malnutrition. A system is being developed of large provincial hospitals, 100-bed district hospitals and village clinics, incorporating traditional medicine. These are well staffed but poorly equipped. Modern medical and surgical equipment and medicines are urgently needed, but will have to be provided by humanitarian aid until trade links are restored.

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