November 28, 2023

Study reveals barriers to Hepatitis C care in Vietnam’s public healthcare 

A recent study led by OUCRU researchers highlighted the factors associated with the number of visits to one tertiary public hospital (Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City) that serves as the referral clinic for two-thirds of Vietnam for Hepatitis C virus treatment.

Accessing healthcare is often hindered by expensive and multi-visit treatments. The investigation was focused on the factors influencing healthcare-seeking behaviour for asymptomatic, chronic Hepatitis C (HCV) virus infection, necessitating costly treatment at an urban tertiary care referral hospital in Vietnam. 

A secondary analysis of hospital data for patients attending the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam between 2017 and 2020 specifically for HCV infection treatment was conducted. This study published in the BMC Infectious Diseases shows that both structural and individual factors influence the number of visits for HCV treatment. To achieve the global strategy of eliminating HCV, actions are required to address both systemic and personal barriers to healthcare, especially for women. 

Ensuring fair healthcare access is fundamental globally, yet disparities persist, among the people living in poverty, particularly women. The analysis revealed both structural and individual factors impacting healthcare-seeking behaviour for HCV treatment, involving multiple hospital visits. Previous studies have detailed the prevalence and risk factors of HCV infection in Vietnam. 

The study showed that structural factors such as the year of starting the treatment, distance from the health facility, and having any health insurance were associated with the number of hospital visits for HCV treatment. Whereas the individual factors associated with the number of hospital visits for HCV treatment included age, existing comorbidities and gender. 

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