The Health Policy Environment in Vietnam: Observations from an Outside Insider

Daniel and Nancy Okimoto Conference Room
  • Dr. Khoa Truong

The health sector's successes in Vietnam have been described as "legendary" by international donors, but there is always the other side of the story. One can question the objectivity of reports from the government of Vietnam, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization. One can wonder in what areas the health sector has failed, who has paid for a "success story" and at what cost, and how much information is well documented and has been made public. Are there "stylized facts" regarding those aspects of health that have been successfully reformed compared with those where reform has lagged? Given these concerns, how can the research community contribute to improving health policy in Vietnam?

Dr. Truong will share his thought on recent socioeconomic development in Vietnam, discuss key health policy issues, and reflect upon his experiences including a research project in which the University of Queensland collaborated with Ministry of Health of Vietnam. Additional evidence will be drawn from a study of the cost-effectiveness of interventions to reduce tobacco use in Vietnam.

Khoa Truong was a visiting faculty member at the Hanoi School of Public Health and a research fellow at the Health Strategy and Policy Institute in 2008-2009.  Prior to that he spent six years as a doctoral fellow at the RAND Corporation.  His research interests include tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug control policies; the impacts of built environments on health; international health issues; and economic development.

He received his doctorate and master of philosophy in policy analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School and earned a master's degree in development economics from Williams College. A native of Vietnam, he began his career working with NGOs in bilateral and multilateral development projects in Southeast Asia. He was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and wrote “most outstanding paper” submitted at an AcademyHealth's Annual Research Meeting (acknowledged as the premier forum for sharing the results of scholarship on health services).