The Da Nang Cancer Hospital, a charity hospital which gives free treatment to poor patients in Da Nang and Quang Nam and fee reductions for those in other cities and provinces
The Da Nang Cancer Hospital held its opening ceremony January 19 in Da Nang City's Lien Chieu District to become the first oncology center in central Vietnam and the country's first charity healthcare facility.
The 15-hectare cancer center began welcoming patients primarily poor residents of Da Nang City and neighboring Quang Nam Province, according hospital director Dr.Trinh Luong Tran on January 15.
These patients will receive free treatment provided that they have heath insurance cards and have paid their premiums.
The hospital applies reduced fees to other patients with health insurance cards who hail from other cities and provinces in the region, he said, without providing further specifics.
Fees for patients from all other areas are 23 percent less than the standard prices stipulated by the Health Ministry, Tran said.
The hospital provides exams, diagnosis and treatment for all types of cancer, Vietnam News Agency reported on January 19. It is also involved in conducting cancer research, as well as training cancer specialists.
Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said the operation of the hospital helped relieve the overloaded situation at other cancer hospitals in the country, where as many as five patients are often forced to share a sickbed.
Construction of the hospital began in 2009 with a total investment of VND1.5 trillion (US$72 million) based on contributions made by several individuals and organizations, following the Da Nang Association for Disadvantaged Women and Children's plea for funding.
Around 200 of 500 beds and 20 of 27 departments are now operating, according to Vietnam News Agency.
Three meals of porridge per day are provided for free to poor patients and the hospital is equipped with 576 beds reserved for patients' relatives, also for free.
Nguyen Thi Suot, 42, a Quang Nam local, who has had stomach cancer for three years, was quoted by news website VnExpress as saying, "Thanks to this hospital, I have hope that my family will be less miserable as they won't need to lend me money to pay the hospital fees any longer."
"Building the [Da Nang] Cancer Hospital was hard but meaningful work," Nguyen Ba Thanh, a senior Da Nang official who initiated the hospital's establishment, was quoted by VTC news as saying at the opening ceremony.
"[It] shares the burden of mothers and wives who have to take care of their sick sons and husbands."
The Da Nang health department estimate that around 15,000 central region residents are diagnosed with cancer each year.
The Vietnam Cancer Association said there are 150,000 new cancer cases and 75,000 deaths every year nationwide.
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