Choices of Commune Health Center for Acute Health Care Services: A Case Study in Thai Nguyen, Khanh Hoa, and Vinh Long


Vu Manh Loi

Abstract: Using data from the Population and Health Survey conducted in 2009 and 2014 in 12 communes in 3 provinces (Thai Nguyen, Khanh Hoa and Vinh Long), this paper presents analysis of local people’s choices of health facility for acute health care services, and explores whether further investment in commune health centers (CHCs) would make sense in the context of a fast-growing private sector in health care at the grassroots level, and whether CHCs help to improve access to health care services of vulnerable groups in the context that the health care costs tend to increase over time. Results show that despite the decline in commune health center (CHC) utilization over time, CHC remains an important first choice health care facility for local people, especially vulnerable groups and those who register health insurance in the CHC. The recent intervention supports by the government/donors in upgrading infrastructure, furnishing high-tech equipment, providing health care models etc. helped to increase the attractiveness of the CHC as the first choice for health care, especially for acute illness. Implications of the findings are discussed.

Keywords: commune health center, access to health care services, gender, poor, children, the elderly, ethnic minority