Enhancing the Administrative Capacity of Vietnam’s Ministry of Health to License Medical Professionals
Countries must license medical professionals to ensure health safety and service quality. Vietnam’s Ministry of Health (MOH) was tasked with developing a medical registration and licensing system for Vietnam that would meet Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) standards. Faced with a legally mandated deadline, the ministry asked the World Bank for assistance. The World Bank’s South-South Facility funded a knowledge exchange to help the Vietnamese officials learn to design, implement, and manage a medical registration and licensing system that would meet ASEAN standards.
The South-South Facility grant enabled members of the steering committee of Vietnam’s Medical Service Administration in the MOH to visit health officials and medical associations in Thailand, Singapore, and Hong Kong—all countries that had implemented ASEAN-compliant medical registration and licensing systems.
“We found that our peers in other countries face many of the same problems that we face,” said, Ms. Phan Thi Hai, an official with the Vietnamese Medical Service Administration of the Ministry of Health. “One of the [many] useful lessons that we learned …is that civil society and professional associations are really empowered and get involved in the process of medical licensing. It really helps make the process transparent and accountable.”
The Vietnamese started implementing their plan in January 2011, and the infrastructure for the licensing system linking the central government to provincial governments was established very quickly. The system will process the registration and licensing of all of Vietnam’s approximately 250,000 medical practitioners by 2016.
Beneficiaries / Participants
Countries register and license medical professionals to ensure that practitioners are qualified to perform services safely and adequately, and that they keep pace with new knowledge and practices. When the Steering Committee of Vietnam’s Medical Service Administration in the Ministry of Health (MOH) was tasked with developing a system that would meet safety and quality standards required by the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), it faced a very tight deadline: the Vietnamese legislature had passed a Law on Examination and Treatment (LET) scheduled to take effect in January 2011, so the licensing and registration system had to be established by the end of 2010.
The Committee requested that the World Bank facilitate a knowledge exchange with other ASEAN countries that could share lessons and practical information on how to organize and administer such a system. Through a South-South Facility grant, the World Bank organized a knowledge exchange between Vietnamese Medical Service Administration officials and Ministry of Health officials and leaders from medical associations in Thailand, Singapore, and Hong Kong to help the Vietnamese officials learn to design, implement, and manage a comprehensive medical registration and licensing system.