Background: Performance of a health system can be accessed using the primary goals of responsiveness to the expectation of the population, financial contribution fairness and good health. Results depend fundamentally on how well systems carry out four vital functions: financing, resource generation, stewardship, and service provision.
Aim: To analyse and compare the Australian national health system with the Vietnamese national health system from the perspective of future challenges such as chronic disease, advancing information technologies and expenditure. To discuss the implications for health policy considering social, environmental and economic factors for each country.
Method: A systematic literature search was undertaken using the literature databases Medline OVID, Embase and PubMed, accessed through the Southern Cross University (SCU) and The Royal Melbourne Hospital library websites. Key terms: ‘Australian healthcare system’, 'Vietnam Healthcare system', 'National health system’, were identified. When broadened, other key terms were used in database to optimize the search strategies. The search was restricted to English articles published between 1949 to the present. Reference reading list and online weekly content from SCU discussion forum, when combined with the results of the literature search, provided robust resources to compare Australia’s national health system with Vietnam’s health system from the perspective of future challenges.
Conclusion: Performance of health systems has been a major concern of policy makers for many years. Health systems cannot afford to only focus on improving people’s health alone but also protecting them against the burden of financial costs of illness. The challenge facing policy makers of low income countries, such as Vietnam, is to reduce out-of-pocket payment for health by developing prepayment schemes, which is intended to expand financial risk and reduce the spectre of on-going health payments.