Volume 6(2019)

PAGE 17/26

Despite the education-support policies, tuition remains the most expensive expense, followed by boarding costs for all-day school attendance. The next costly items are extra tuition, school supplies and uniforms. The poor households have good access to the public education system, including children pursuing higher education and children supported with reduced tuition fees or preferential loans for study. However, due to the low level of household income, the expenditure on education account for a considerable portion of the family budget.

Access to health care system

Poor people benefit from free health insurance in Viet Nam, and the research finds that only 4.4 per cent of the household members in the study do not have health insurance. According to the findings, the poor households mostly use health insurance for medical treatment so they do not spend much on health care. Thus, medical expenses account for only a small portion of their household expenditure, even though most of the households include older people with illnesses and ill younger persons (table 15).

Table 15: Use of health insurance for medical examinations and treatment

Yes No Total (N=520)
For medical examination 91.9% 8.1% 100%
For treatment of disease and injury 85.0% 15.0% 100%

Most of the household members did not have regular health check-ups, only for the older persons. For minor illnesses, most households buy medicine at a pharmacy, even for children. When they have more severe health problems, they usually go to a district or city hospital.

Figure 8: Health care habits

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Buying medicine is reported as easy, although 24.6 per cent of households in the central districts and 34.6 per cent in the peri-urban districts consider it easy to buy needed medicines. Households in the central districts, however, report having better access to pharmacies than those in the peri-urban areas.