The significant improvement in Vietnam's economy has brought with it some major advances in public health. Rural areas can still pose a problem when it comes to finding good health care, however; although foreigners with hard cash will receive the best treatment available, even bars of gold cannot buy blood tests or X-rays when the local clinic doesn't even liave a thermometer or any aspirin. If you become seriously ill in rural Vietnam, get to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) or Hanoi as quickly as you can. If you need any type of surgery or other extensive treatment, don't hesitate to fly to Bangkok, Hong Kong or another renowned medical centre as soon as possible.
Government hospitals in Vietnam are overcrowded and basic. In order to treat foreigners, a facility needs to obtain a special license and so far only a few have been provided. The private clinics in Hanoi and HCMC should be your first port of call. They are familiar with the local resources and can organise evacuations if necessary. The contact details of the best medical facilities in Vietnam are listed in the HCMC (p78) and Hanoi (p325) chapters. These are the only cities where you are likely to find health facilities that come close to meeting the standard of developed countries.
Self-treatment may be appropriate if your problem is minor (eg traveller's diarrhoea), you are carrying the appropriate medication and you cannot attend a recommended clinic. It you think you may have a serious disease, especially malaria, do not waste time - travel to the nearest quality facility to receive attention. It is always better to be assessed by a doctor than to rely on self-treatment.
Buying medication over the counter is not recommended, as fake medications and poorly stored or oul-of-date drugs are common. Check the expiry dates on any medicines you buy. If you need special medication then take it with you.
MEDICAL SERVICES IN HANOI
BachMaiHospital (Benh vien Bach Mai; tel 869 3731; Duong Giai Phong) Includes an international department with English – speaking doctors
Dental Clinic ( tel 846 2864; email@example.com) Can’t live with the tooth? Deal with it here, part of the Hanoi Family Medical Practice
French Embassy Clinic (tel 825 2719, 49 Pho Ba Trieu) A 24-hour clinic for French nationals
Hanoi Family Medical Pratice (tel 843 0748, 24hr emergency service; tel 0903 401 919; www.doctorkot.com; Van Phuc Diplomatic Compound, Bldg A1 Ste 109-112, Pho Kim Ma) Boasts a team of well-respected international physicians. It’s pricey so make sure your medical insurance is in order.
SOS International Clinic (tel 934 0555, fax 934 0556; 31 Pho Hai Ba Trung; 8am-7pm Mon-Fri, 8am-2pm with annual policies for expats living in Vietnam. English, French and Japenese spoken. Evacuation specialist.
Viet Duc hospital (Benh vien Viet Duc, tel 825 3531, 40 Pho Trang Thi, 24hr) Old Quarter unit for emergency surgery, the doctors here speak English, Frech and German.
VietnamInternationalHospital (tel 574 0704, 24hr emergency service; tel 547 1111, Duong Giai Phong) A good international-standard facility staffed by French doctor.
Vietnam-Korea Frienship Clinic (tel 843 7231; 12 Chu Van An, 9am-noon & 2-5pm ance, this high standard nonprofit clinic is the least expensive in Hanoi; consultation US$5.
Institue of Acupuncture (tel 853 3881, H3 Pho Vinh Ho & 49 Pho Thai Thinh)
Institue of Traditional Medicine (tel 943 1018; 26-29 Pho Nguyen Binh Khiem) Check out some Vietnamese solutions to what might be Vietnamese problems.
MEDICAL SERVICES IN HCMC
Cho Ray Hospital (tel 855 4137; fax 855 7267; 201 ĐL Nguyen Chi Thanh, District 5; consultations from US$4; 24hr) One of the largest medical facilities in Vietnam, with 1000 beds, and a section for foreigners on the 10th floor; about a third of the 200 doctors speak English
Emergency Centre (tel 829 2701; 125 ĐL Le Loi, 24hr) Has doctors that speak English and French
FV Hospital (Franco-VietnameseHospital; tel 411 3333; www.fvhospital.com; 6 Đ Nguyen Luong Bang, Tan Phu Ward, District 7, 24hr) French, Vietnamese and English speaking physicians, superb care and equipment
Grand Dentistry (tel 821 9446, 24hr emergency; tel 0903 647 156; SunWahTower, 115 Đ Nguyen Hue) Dental care, emergencies and surgeries.
HCMC Family Medical Practice (tel 822 7848, 24hr emergency; tel 0913 234 911; www.doctorkot.com; DiamondPlaza, 34 ĐL Le Duan, consultations from US$50, 24hr) Run by the well-respected Dr Rafi Kot
International Medical Centre (tel 827 2366, 24hr emergency; tel 865 4025; firstname.lastname@example.org; 1Đ Han Thuyen; consultations US$40-80, 24hr) A nonprofit organisation billing itself as the least expensive Western health-care centre in the country; has English-speaking French doctors.
International SOS (tel 829 8424, 24hr emergency; tel 829 8520; fax 829 8551; 65 Đ Nguyen Du; consultation US$55-65, 24hr) Has an international team of docs speaking English, French, Japenese and Vietnamese
Starlight Dental Clinic (Tel 822 2433, 24hr emergency; tel 0903 834 901; 10C Đ Thai Van Lung