Japan and UNICEF’s Joint Effort in Supporting Digital Health System in Vietnam

A contribution of 158 laptops, 803 desktops, and 187 barcode readers to the healthcare industry will greatly aid in digital transformation.

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In support of the Government of Vietnam’s priority to achieve digital transformation across all its work, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) teamed up with the Government of Japan to support the Health Ministry in transforming digital health information for children.

22 laptops, 168 desktops, and 20 barcode readers on November 7 were distributed in Gia Lai province, as part of the support from the Government of Japan and UNICEF to strengthen the digital health system in Vietnam.

This contribution to the digital transformation of the health system includes a total of 158 laptops, 803 desktops, and 187 barcode readers. The supplies have been distributed to several departments of the Health Ministry and seven provinces among the most disadvantaged to enhance the use of information technology in maternal and child health management, as well as reproductive health.

Through its partnership with UNICEF, the Government of Japan has provided significant support to Vietnam’s health sector in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.

The aid provided this time has been key in enhancing data collection, reporting, and improving data quality. This provides essential evidence for the development and implementation of effective policies, especially in the areas of maternal and child health, as well as broader global health issues. As a result, this aid has effectively driven the digital transformation of health services in line with the directives of the Vietnamese Government.

Japan, UNICEF Support Digital Health System in Vietnam
At the handover ceremony on November 7. Source: UNICEF Vietnam

According to Sasaki Shohei, First Secretary of the Government of Japan, at the handover event in Gia Lai province, this project is a collaborative effort with UNICEF to enhance the health information management system, beginning with vaccination information data. An aid package totaling JPY 1,267 million has been allocated for Southeast Asian countries, of which JPY 290 million is designated for Vietnam.

“We commend the Vietnamese Government’s proactive approach to nationwide healthcare digitization, which aims at improving healthcare service delivery. The Government of Japan hopes that the equipment donated as part of this initiative will serve various purposes in the target provinces, including Gia Lai. We also aspire to see further digital transformation within the healthcare sector throughout Vietnam, contributing to the enhancement of the healthcare service delivery system,” he concluded.

Despite the development and implementation of numerous health information management software solutions, compatibility issues persist. Furthermore, some medical facilities do not have the necessary information technology (IT) equipment for collecting and reporting critical data related to maternal healthcare and vaccinations, including those for Covid-19. As a result, the data is neither compiled nor presented in a way that facilitates real-time decision-making, thereby compromising its quality.

Japan, UNICEF Support Digital Health System in Vietnam
Together with the Government of Japan, UNICEF is supporting Vietnam’s Ministry of Health to enhance data management for child and maternal health and ensure real-time information, better decision-making, and improved healthcare services for women and children.

In recent years, maternal and child healthcare has been consistently acknowledged as a vital component of Vietnam’s socio-economic development strategy. It plays a key role in improving the quality of life for its citizens, a fact underscored by the Party and State of Vietnam.

“With this support, we are confident that this project will significantly enhance the quality of data, boost the management capabilities of the child healthcare system, and ultimately improve the health and welfare of women and children. This handover ceremony signifies a significant step forward in this mission,” stated Tong Tran Ha, Deputy Director of the Department of Maternal Health and Children, Health Ministry of Vietnam.

Maharajan Muthu, UNICEF Vietnam Chief of Child Survival and Development remarked that significant strides have been made by the Health Ministry in developing and implementing various health information management software—such as national vaccination software and electronic health books for maternal health and children. A challenge that UNICEF and the Government of Japan seek to help address is to ensure that these systems are updated and talk to each other so that all information on the health status of every child is available across all platforms in real time.

“This includes improving the functionality and interoperability of existing digital health software; offering comprehensive training to healthcare workers, particularly those at the community level to enable proficient use of medical statistical information technology software; and ensuring that specialized medical facilities and community health stations are equipped with all necessary information technology tools for data entry and reporting related to maternal and child health”, he added.

Hannah Nguyen