Background There is a paucity of data on the operational readiness capacities of the grassroots health system in Vietnam while it plays a vital role as a first-line defense against health emergencies, including the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This study, therefore, aims to assess the operational readiness capacities of the grassroots health system in response to epidemics and provides implications for controlling COVID-19 in Vietnam. Methods An online cross-sectional study using the respondent-driven sampling technique was conducted with 6029 health professionals and medical students in Vietnam from December 2019 to February 2020. The operational readiness capacities of the health system were assessed by the sufficiency of health professionals, administrative and logistics staffs, equipment and facilities, and general capacity of health professionals. Kruskal-Wallis test, Fisher exact test and χ2 test were employed to identify the differences among variables. Tobit and censored regression models were operated to determine associated factors. Results The operational readiness capacities of the grassroots health system for four assessed criteria were at moderate levels, ranging from 6.3 to 6.8 over 10. In Vietnam, the grassroots health system in rural areas, in the South, and at the district level were more likely to be vulnerable compared to their counterparts. Conclusions According to empirical data, this study reveals the vulnerability of the grassroots health system in Vietnam and provides the rationality of prompt and vigorous actions of the Vietnamese Government against COVID-19. Findings also offer useful insights for effective strategies to strengthen the grassroots health system in the long term. In the short term, practicing precautionary measures and mobilizing human resources, as well as medical equipment, are needed to successfully contain COVID-19 in Vietnam.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health