Health Benefits package in Vietnam
NICE International coordinated two events in Hanoi on health benefits package design in partnership with the Health Strategy and Policy Institute and the Vietnamese Health Economics Association.
A health benefits package is the range of technologies and services that are available at a free or subsidised rate to the insured population, and the methods, processes and policies that contribute to its design and inclusions or exclusions are central to achieving and maintaining universal health insurance coverage. The events included a meeting to share international experiences of decision making for health entitlements and benefits package design, and a workshop focusing on the status and future direction for benefits package design in Vietnam.
The events were opened by Professor Pharm Le Tuan, Deputy Minister of Health who advised of the importance of the role of a high quality, nationally accessible and affordable benefits package as Vietnam moves towards Universal Health Coverage. Dr Tran Thi Mai Oanh, Director of the Health Strategy and Policy Institute and Dr Kalipso Chalkidou, Director of NICE International endorsed the Deputy Minister’s comments and highlighted the beneficial role of continuing partnership and joint working between Vietnamese institutions and iDSI
Sir Andrew Dillon of NICE, UK and Dr Yot Teerawattananon of the Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Programme (HITAP), Thailand shared the experience of their country’s approach to determining access to technologies and services. They were joined by Ursula Giedeon of the Inter-American Development Bank on an international panel who discussed initiatives in different South American countries to establish explicit benefits packages.
Attendees also benefited from hearing experience from Dr Sastroasmoro and Dr Gyansa-Lutterodt who shared early experiences of health technology assessment and benefits package design in Indonesia and Ghana.
At the workshop Amanda Glassman of the Center for Global Development presented a comprehensive overview of key themes in benefits package design and explained how a methodological and strategic approach can optimise health outcomes from within limited resources available for health. The diversity of international experiences provided useful insight into potential opportunities and challenges facing policy makers in Vietnam and was a valuable input to the strategic direction of the Vietnamese benefits package.
Developing capacity for HTA and quality improvement initiatives are key areas where NICE International and HITAP are working with colleagues in the Ministry of Health and supporting institutions in Vietnam. The benefits package workshop showcased pilot HTAs conducted by technical teams, showing how the information produced through HTA can be a valuable input to benefits package design. Highlighting the importance of the quality component to services patients receive as part of a benefits package, recent work to adapt Quality Standards used in the English National Health Service to the Vietnamese context were also presented and discussed.
Importantly, the events facilitated discussion by local policy makers and stakeholders on the institutional arrangements and strategic direction for benefits package design. Presentations from the Department of Planning and Finance in the Ministry of Health and Vietnamese Social Security in addition to an overview of the status of social health insurance by the World Bank Vietnam office provided a comprehensive overview of the underlying needs and current status of benefits package design and enabled attendees to generate key areas of recommendation for work going forward. Recommendation areas included the need for analytical and administrative capacity development, established process and evidence generation and use, and a focus on communication and implementation activities. Dr Duong Huy Lieu, Chairman of the Vietnamese Health Economics Association closed the events reiterating the importance maintaining the momentum for benefits package reform in Vietnam and continuing dialogue between all major stakeholders.
The meeting and workshop brought together departments of the Vietnamese Ministry of Health, Vietnamese Social Security (the state insurer), local clinicians and academic institutions, policy makers from around the world and international experts in benefits package design.
The events were supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and were part of NICE International’s long-term partnership with the Ministry of Health of Vietnam on their journey towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
NICE International supports Vietnamese colleagues in Health Technology Assessment capacity building
NICE International staff joined the Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Program (HITAP), Thailand, in the delivery of a week-long training course on health technology assessment in Hanoi, Vietnam. The in depth course covered fundamental aspects of the conduct of health technology assessment including searching for and synthesising evidence, health state evaluation, costing methods and decision rules. The course participants were from the various institutions in Hanoi that are currently engaged in some form of economic evaluation and is part of a wider Rockefeller Foundation-funded initiative to use the results of health technology assessment to informing priority setting and health policy in Vietnam.
Support for basic package design
NICE International completed the first phase of its programme to support the design of the basic package of healthcare subsidised at Vietnamese health facilities. This included interviews and group discussions to outline current mechanisms for basic package design and targeted training events in collaboration with the Health Interventions and Technology Assessment Program (HITAP), Thailand.
The “Principles of HTA” training event, held at Hanoi Medical University, targeted researchers and policymakers who will be conducting economic evaluations. The event attracted 40 attendees from universities, the Ministry of Health, and affiliated research institutions. 80% of attendees felt confident or very confident that they could apply the training to their current work.
The “HTA in Policy” training event was held at Hanoi School of Public Health, and primarily targeted policymakers interested in how HTA can inform priority-setting decisions in health. This event featured theoretical approaches to basic package design, and experiences of how HTA is used for priority-setting in the UK and Thailand
HTA in Vietnam conference
Hanoi Medical University and VHEA hosted a conference on HTA in Hanoi on 15 – 16 November. The conference provided a forum for senior Ministry of Health policymakers , healthcare professionals and researchers from across Vietnam, and international partners to discuss current research and HTA developments in Vietnam. NICE International and partners delivered presentations on experiences from the Technology Appraisals programme and incorporation of health economic evidence in NICE Clinical Guidelines, and chaired panels on addressing the challenges to institutionalising HTA in Vietnam.
for more information on the Groundwork project, please click here