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Reprod Health Matters. 2011 May;19(37):52-61. doi: 10.1016/S0968-8080(11)37555-6.

Quality of reproductive health services at commune health stations in Viet Nam: implications for national reproductive health care strategy.

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Viet Nam Evidence for Health Policy Project, School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Health Strategy and Policy Institute, Hanoi, Viet Nam.


This paper presents a qualitative study conducted in 2009 of provider and patient perceptions of primary level reproductive health services provided by commune health stations (CHSs), and the implications for Viet Nam's 2011-2020 National Strategy for Reproductive Health Care. In the three provinces of Thai Nguyen, Thua Thien Hue, and Vinh Long, we interviewed the heads of CHSs, held focus group discussions with midwives and women patients, and observed facilities. Half the 30 CHSs visited were in poor physical condition; the rest were newly renovated. However, the model of service delivery was largely unchanged from ten years before. Many appeared to fall short in meeting patient expectations in terms of modern medical equipment and technology, range of drug supplies, and levels of staff expertise. As a result, many women were turning to private doctors and public hospitals, at least in urban areas, or seeking medication from pharmacies. To make CHS clinics sustainable, promotion of access to reproductive health services should be undertaken concurrently with quality improvement. A responsive payment scheme must also be developed to generate revenues. Efforts should be made to reduce the unnecessary use of more costly services from private clinics and higher level public facilities.

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