return icon

Procurement of medical equipment during Covid-19 is a sensitive issue: MOH

Mistakes in purchasing medical equipment and materials to serve the fight against Covid-19 can easily be perceived as examples of wrongdoings and embezzlement.



At some moments, localities have found it very difficult to buy materials and medical equipment because of a supply shortage and high prices. And, no information about prices for reference exists. As such, localities may be overcharged when buying equipment at high prices, and they may be accused of embezzlement, said Deputy Minister of Health Tran Van Thuan.

To prevent wrongdoings, some localities have proposed centralized procurement in which the Ministry of Health (MOH) would buy medical equipment to distribute to localities. However, Thuan said the idea is not feasible because it’s difficult for agencies and localities to determine the materials they want, the types, quantity and time to purchase.

He explained that the equipment and materials that MOH purchases may not suit the needs of localities. He said localities should procure with the ‘four on-site’ principle; publicize selling prices and the results of bids; publicize equipment prices; and add some items to the list of products for price stabilization.

Regarding inspection and auditing of procurements, Thuan said inspectors need to consider the circumstances of the procurement. Vietnam is ‘fighting the pandemic like fighting the enemy’, and in such a situation, buyers may skip some administrative procedures. Inspectors need to be prudent and objective in their assessment.

It’s also necessary to be objective when some units cannot use up materials they buy because of unpredictable pandemic developments. In many cases, the procurement is perceived as causing waste.

Bach Mai Hospital, for example, bought many items and equipment for its ICUs (intensive care units) in urgent need. Two or three months later, when it fulfilled the tasks, it transferred the equipment to other hospitals because it did not need the equipment any longer.

Thuan cited many difficulties that the healthcare sector has faced during the peak period of fighting Covid-19.

Under Resolution 86, the Government allowed the use of the state budget to pay for Covid-19 patients based on real treatment costs. The treatment of other diseases were done in accordance with current regulations.

At some moments, when the outbreak reached its peak, the number of Covid-19 patients climbed to a record high, and the healthcare sector did not have enough workers and time to separate the different types of expenses. Meanwhile, many patients did not bring identification documents and money when they were hospitalized. When patients died, it was impossible to contact their relatives and collect the hospital fees.



Deputy Minister of Health Tran Van Thuan



To solve the problem, MOH and the Government reported to the National Assembly Standing Committee. The committee released Resolution 12 allowing special mechanisms to serve the fight against the pandemic.

During the four pandemic outbreaks, in order to have epidemiological investigations, zone, isolate, sample and test in some localities, MOH assigned hospitals and some units belonging to MOH to give support.

The units had to bring test kits, materials and workforce to the localities to carry out tests. The units still have not been paid for their work.

Do Minh Tri, Deputy Director of Duc Giang Hospital, said the hospital spent VND30 billion to test and treat Covid-19 patients, but it has not been paid.

MOH has proposed that the ministry be allowed to use the State budget allocated to hospitals to pay that money. However, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) cites current regulations as saying that m localities have to pay for this. Meanwhile, some localities said their resources are exhausted and they don’t have enough money to pay.

Nguyen Xuan Luu, Director of the Hanoi Finance Department, said there should be a specific financial management mechanism applied to the Covid-19 period.

Nguyen Manh Cuong, Deputy Head of the National Assembly Committee for Judicial Affairs, said, when auditing procurements, it’s necessary to differentiate between violations because of objective reasons or limited ability and violations done because of deliberate profiteering. The individuals who exploit the pandemic and deliberately inflate procurement prices must be heavily sanctioned.

Nguyen Thi Phu Ha, Deputy Head of the National Assembly Finance and Budget Committee, said during the pandemic, policies and mechanisms can be special and unprecedented. Auditors need to consider these special conditions when auditing procurements.

Vu Van Hoa, Deputy Chief of the State Audit, said auditing the management and use of resources to prevent and control the Covid-19 pandemic is a difficult topic, which is not present in the 2022 audit program.

According to MOF, VND145 trillion was mobilized in 2021 for the prevention and fight against the pandemic. Of this, VND125.45 trillion was from the State budget and VND19.247 trillion from contributions from institutions, businesses and individuals.

Nguyen Xuan Luu, Director of the Hanoi Finance Department, said it’s necessary to determine prices from various sources. Many individuals and enterprises not only donate money but also equipment. One question is whether the equipment value is assessed in accordance with the price shown by donors or the price of the manufacturers. Hanoi, for example, has received 39 cars, and donors have shown different prices. 

Ngoc Ha

Covid test kit procurement in HCMC, Hanoi, Health Ministry to be probed

Covid test kit procurement in HCMC, Hanoi, Health Ministry to be probed

Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai has asked the Government Inspectorate to inspect Covid-19 testing kit and equipment procurement at the Ministry of Health and in HCMC and Hanoi.

Government reports on wrongdoings related to COVID-19 test kit developer

Government reports on wrongdoings related to COVID-19 test kit developer

The Government, in its report on the COVID-19 prevention and control submitted to the National Assembly (NA) on January 4, affirmed that the Viet A Technologies JSC had took advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to seek illegal profit.


Vietnam Blockchain Union officially debuts

The Vietnam Blockchain Union (VBN) debuted on May 17 with the aim of connecting the local blockchain community to state management agencies to develop legal frameworks for the technology and to accelerate the development of VN's digital economy.

Vietnamese students champion int’l environmental competition

A team of three Vietnamese high school students has won an international prize on environmental sustainability.

NA Chairman meets with Lao PM, discussing measures to boost ties

National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue met with Lao Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh in Vientiane on May 17, where the two leaders discussed measures to promote bilateral relations.

Vietnamese e-commerce likely to reach US$39 billion by 2025

Vietnam’s e-commerce market has recorded strong growth over the years and is likely to bring in US$39 billion in value by 2025, according to data released by the German market research firm Statista.

The results of press privatization

The number of news articles and other articles published in electronic newspapers and magazines have soared recently.

Prime Minister meets representatives of investment funds, groups in New York

PM Pham Minh Chinh have met with leaders of global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Visa Group in New York and held phone talks with the Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during his trip to the US.

SEA Games 31: Vietnam bags 88 gold medals as of May 16

Vietnam has so far obtained 197 medals, including 88 golds, at the ongoing SEA Games 31, topping the tally and leaving other competitors far behind.

Vietnam to play more active role at UN: PM

Vietnam will continue bringing into play its role and making more active and constructive contributions to the common work of the UN in all the three pillars – security-politics, development and human rights, PM Pham Minh Chinh has affirmed.

Billionaire list: Tran Dinh Long loses position, new names emerge

The HPG shares of Hoa Phat Group have seen a fall in price to VND35,900 per share, while billionaire Tran Dinh Long fell from the second position on the list of Vietnamese stock billionaires.

Building a national brand for Vietnamese rice

At wet markets, consumers can find varieties of rice stored in bowls and baskets from age-old brands such as Nang Thom Cho Dao, Huong Lai, Tai Nguyen and Bong Su.

National Development Master Plan: confusion due to conflicting legal provisions

The Law on Planning was approved by the National Assembly in 2017 and took effect on January 1, 2019, but after more than three years, the planning work has not been completed. Many problems have arisen and need the National Assembly’s comments.

First Vietnamese woman reaches summit of Mount Everest

Nguyen Thi Thanh Nha, also known as Céline Nha Nguyen, has become the first Vietnamese woman to conquer the summit of Mount Everest.

Tourism reopens, but staff shortage persists

The number of travelers has increased sharply, but travel firms still lack workers.

Five places visitors shouldn’t miss on trip to Phu Tho

The ancestral land of Phu Tho is home to not only diverse cultural heritages and historical sites but also many scenic natural attractions.

Famous alley shop in Hanoi’s Old Quarter thrives

23-year-old bun cha shop on 74 Hang Quat (Hanoi), open daily from 10 am to 2 pm, sells only 500 servings a day