| (gross domestic product). All Vietnamese are entitled to 20% government subsidy for their medical bills, which means that 80% of the bills would have to be paid in cash by the patients.
The country's public healthcare took its root from the North (when Vietnam was still split into north and south) and it covered all the way to the hamlet level. It was only after the country was reunited, the public healthcare system started to encompass the South. However, starting from the late 80s, a host of factors such as insufficient government funding, redistribution of healthcare responsibility from the central government to the provinces, and the introduction of 'charged' healthcare services in Vietnam began to affect the system adversely. Insufficient government funding has created a major problem as under-maintained water and sewage systems have brought about infectious diseases such as cholera, typhoid, dengue fever and malaria. It has also delayed the construction/maintenance of hospitals and has caused shortage of medical professionals like nurses and midwifes. World Bank, in its report in 2000, stated that only 250,000 hospital beds nationwide for its entire population, which translate to approximately 14.8 beds per 10,000 people, which is alarmingly low among Asian nations.
In Vietnam infectious diseases such as malaria is largely contained. To its credit, deaths resulting from malaria now stand at only about 5 percent of comparable cases during the early 90s. This drastic and remarkable achievement was helped by anti-malarial drugs and appropriate treatment was introduced in the country. Conversely, tuberculosis (TB) is still a top infectious disease in the country, which contributed 57 deaths each day – according to a May 2004. It has intensified country-wide vaccination program, and coupled with hygiene education promotion, as well as foreign expertise, Vietnam aims to bring down drastically the cases related to TB and minimize new infections.
Vietnam is one Asian country more severely affected by human immunodeficiency virus/ acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS). According to official report published September 2005, there were 101,291 patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), 16,528 of these patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and it caused 9,554 deaths. But it is widely believed that the cases that went unreported to be significantly more. The situation is quite worrisome as official numbers point to an average of 40–50 new cases each day. The stated objective by the government is to cap the HIV infection rate at 0.35%, which is also the current official rate (about average worldwide rate) with close attention to sex-trade workers and intravenous drug users. However, even at current rate, this would still translate to 1 million patients by 2010. Additionally, victims in the country are also subjected to ‘official’ discrimination and stigmatization; which prompted a United Nations official to comment those were carried out more severely than most parts of the world. The situation was observed with watchful eyes of international community and in June 2004, the Bush Administration made Vietnam as one of 15 recipient nations for the US$15 billion global AIDS plan.