A Quick Look at Obstetrics and Gynecology Treatment in HCMC

By: City Pass Guide

What about infertility treatment?

Vietnam’s infertility treatments are quality, though the success rate is just 30-35%. The high cost of treatment is a problem. Nevertheless, over 4,000 IVF babies have been born in Vietnam in the last decade, with the first successful cycle in 1997. Artificial reproductive technology (ART) has been developed in 10 hospitals in Vietnam and the programme has become well known among expatriates. Since 2002, nearly 9% of ART clients at HCMC’s Tu Du Hospital have been foreigners.

What about giving birth?

HCMC has many good birthing hospitals. You will probably experience some cultural differences, and some financial costs if you don’t have health insurance, but the quality of maternity healthcare here is very well maintained. Keep in mind that local international hospitals cost more than Vietnamese hospitals. Some Vietnamese doctors in Vietnamese hospitals speak English very well, but it is understandable that at the time of giving birth, many women prefer to be attended by a doctor who is from the same culture.

What does it cost to give birth in Vietnam?

Maternity packages vary, and prices are dependent on the hospital you choose (Vietnamese or international, English speaking or not), and the type of room (private, shared, with or without TV). If you decide to buy a package, make sure it includes blood tests, an obstetrician, ultrasounds and other necessary services. Medical costs in Vietnam are substantially lower than what you would pay (without insurance) in most Western countries. Quality of care is fine but you may have to deal with a lack of communication from Vietnamese staff.

Type of Care Từ Dũ Hospital SI Hospital Hạnh Phúc Hospital FV Hospital
Fertility doctor consultation VND80,000 VND120,000 From VND450,000-700,000 From VND550,000-VND1.1M
O&G doctor consultation VND70,000 VND250,000 From VND450,000-700,000 From VND550,000-VND1.1M
Obstetric ultrasound VND30,000 From VND120,000-450,000 From VND300,000-VND1.2M From VND300,000-900,000
Prenatal diagnostic Request during the process Package Included in package or consultation price Package
Blood test for chromosomal defects Request during the process Package Included in package or consultation price Package
Delivery From VND1M-2M From VND2.5M-4.5M From VND25M-30M (including room fees) From VND24M-35M (including room fees)
C-section delivery From VND2M-3M From VND5.5M-13M From VND35M-40M (including room fees) From VND35M-40M (including room fees)
Room standard VND100,000/day VND1M/day - -
Room deluxe VND1.5M/day VND1.9M/day - -
Consultation on breast feeding - From VND150,000-200,000 Included in package or consultation price -

Header photo by: shutterstock


Saigon’s Sick Can Count On A Wealth Of Healthcare Providers

By: Keely Burkey

Looking for an effective oncologist or just need to get a routine annual teeth cleaning? Look no further than City Pass Guide’s list of health specialists in Ho Chi Minh City.

We’ve compiled a list of 14 healthcare providers including doctors in a range of fields and specialties. And they’re all working in Saigon here to get you well again.

Cardiology

Tam Duc Heart Hospital

hospitalImage source: vicare.vn

Dedicated to all matters of the heart, Tam Duc Heart Hospital has been the go-to cardiology stop for years. Private clinics will have excellent cardiology departments, but the heart is Tan Duc’s bread and butter.

4 Nguyen Luong Bang, D7 | +84 28 5411 0025 | hospital@tamduchearthospital.com | tamduchearthospital.com/home/en

Oncology

FV Hospital

FV’s Hy Vong Cancer Centre is top-of-the-line and has the Joint Commission International’s Gold Seal of Approval. Both Dr. Vo Kim Dien and Dr. Tran Thi Phuong Thao are highly experienced and fluent in English, French and Vietnamese.

6 Nguyen Luong Bang Tan Phu, D7 | +84 28 5411 3333 | information@fvhospital.com | fvhospital.com

Gastroenterology

Victoria Healthcare

Helmed by Dr. Nguyen Vinh Tuong, a member of the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, this department is fully equipped and internationally known.

81 Dien Bien Phu, D1 | +84 28 3910 4545 | info@victoriavn.com | victoriavn.com

Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Hanh Phuc Hospital

hospitalImage source: hanhphuchospital.com

The most well-known and beloved women’s health department in the city. Top marks go to Dr. Robert Riche, a native of France, who runs the department with great aplomb and bedside manner.

Binh Duong Boulevard, Thuan An District, Binh Duong Province | +84 274 363 6068 | info@hanhphuchospital.com | hanhphuchospital.com

Diagnostics

The Diag Medical Center

If you need to get a blood test, a screening or a general checkup, there’s no better place than the Diag Medical Center. It just opened a new and beautiful facility earlier this year.

414-420 Cao Thanh noi dai, D10 | + 84 28 3979 8181 | info@diag-center.com | diag-center.com

Dentistry

Westcoast International Dental Clinic

You’ll be able to find cheaper dentistry in the city, but if you want some quality work and peace of mind, we recommend Westcoast. One major advantage here is the large range of top-of-the-line dental equipment.

17-19 Ly Tu Trong, D1 | +84 28 3825 6999 | info@westcoastinternational.com | westcoastinternational.com

Elite Dental

Patients love Elite Dental’s team: they’re warm, friendly and knowledgeable. They also specialise in dental implants.

57A Tran Quoc Thao, D3 | +84 28 3933 3737 | inquiry@elitedental.com.vn | e.elitedental.com.vn

Psychology

The International Center for Cognitive Development

hospitalImage source: iccd.info

Azrael Jeffrey and his team of fully accredited mental health practitioners have been serving the Ho Chi Minh City community for two years. Plus, initial meetings are free of charge so you can find out if they’re a good fit.

191 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 | +84 0965 729 346 | ICCD.hcmc@gmail.com | iccd.info

Pediatrics

Victoria Healthcare

Victoria Healthcare’s newest clinic includes not one but two floors entirely dedicated to pediatrics. One level is for checkups, while the other handles children with infectious symptoms—no cross-contamination here.

81 Dien Bien Phu, D1 | +84 28 3910 4545 | info@victoriavn.com | victoriavn.com

Hanh Phuc Hospital

Famously operating on “Singapore Standard”, Hanh Phuc has a pediatric centre, a safari-themed patient ward and a neonatal intensive care unit. They’re the real deal.

Binh Duong Boulevard, Thuan An District, Binh Duong Province | +84 274 363 6068 | info@hanhphuchospital.com | hanhphuchospital.com

Neurology

Columbia Asia

Columbia Asia’s Binh Duong hospital includes a high-quality neurology department. It can treat issues including Alzheimer's, epilepsy, stroke and many more brain-related disorders.

Street 22/12, Lot 178, Hoa Lan, Binh Duong Province | +84 274 381 9933 | customercare.binhduong@columbiaasia.com | columbiaasia.com/vietnam/hospitals/binh-duong/binh-duong-overview

Dermatology

Stamford Skin Center

hospitalImage source: Stamford Skin

Internationally run and well staffed, this high-tech palace of skin care doesn’t just stop at dermatology. Come here for all your issues involving hair and nails as well, but expect an international-sized bill when you’re done.

99 Suong Nguyet Anh, D1 | +84 28 3925 1990 | info@stamfordskin.com | stamfordskin.com

Tropical Medicine

Centre Medical International

Dr. Nicholas Lagüe is one of the only tropical medicine specialists in the city. Vaccinations and treatments for tropical diseases should be presented to this qualified professional.

1 Han Thuyen, D1 | +84 28 3827 2366 | info@cmi-vietnam.com | cmi-vietnam.com

Optometry

Ngoc Toan Optical

This small mom-and-pop glasses shop is a great and trusted place to a good eye checkup at a reasonable price. Vietnamese-owned, they speak fluent English, so you’ll be sure you’re in good hands.

106 Le Thanh Ton, D1 | +84 28 3823 2059

Banner image source: Elite Dental


The Birth of Predictive Healthcare in Vietnam

By: City Pass Guide

What if I told you you’re neglecting a factor influencing 30 percent of your overall health?

We all know how existing medicine works: you get sick, then you see the doctor. She treats your illness and life goes on. Maybe you live a healthy lifestyle, maybe you don’t.

In this framework, you know that yearly check-ups, testing for bad stuff, etc.,is necessary to find out about disease at an early stage.

It’s still all about disease rather than you.It’s passive rather than you taking control of your own health.

victoria

That old clinic with its doc-in-the-box is transforming into a wellness center, working with you in your real, daily life to help you be healthier and happier. Clinics, such as Victoria Healthcare, may soon be the place where you positively pursue good health, not just stave off disease. It’s still not common in Vietnam, but Victoria Healthcare is at the forefront of a medical trend taking shape in most of the developed countries

But the first waves of this tide have already hit our beautiful beaches.

The doctors at Victoria Healthcare are bringing about this change to a culture of being your partner in wellness. By understanding that disease is a departure from wellness as medicine has done traditionally, they capably identify and treat illnesses. The more you and your doctor knows about your health, the better you can manage yourself.

Not Just Lifestyle

What determines a person’s health? It turns out, several things do—your lifestyle only contributes about 40 percent to your overall health. Environmental factors make up 20 percent. The quality of healthcare provides another 10 percent.

But one’s genetic inheritance plays a big role in your health, even with a healthy lifestyle.

However, the remaining 30 percent is based on your genetic makeup.

Your genes, the DNA you inherit from your parents, literally determines who you are. Although all humans share 99.9 percent of the same genes, that sticky little 0.1 percent may make all the difference. It determines much of the individual you, like your hair and eye colour, your height, and even your disposition.

It also determines if you have genetic mutations that may pre-program you to develop chronic diseases or even early death.

victoria

Certain common diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease aren’t brought on simply by lifestyle choices like smoking, drinking and a poor diet although they contribute. They are also hereditary, passed down through your family. Thus, based on your genetic makeup, you may run a high risk of contracting hereditary illnesses.

Team-Based Healthcare

And this is where Victoria Healthcare steps in. When you’re getting a check-up and additional testing they offer can potentially reveal that your family history contains breast cancer or early deaths from heart attacks, for example. Chances are, you may be carrying a mutated gene that gives you a higher risk. What’s more, you might pass down that mutated gene to your own children.

With a simple blood test, the team at Victoria Healthcare can now analyse your DNA through an advanced lab in Hong Kong. After a few weeks, your genetic roadmap is revealed. Based on this information, your doctors and a geneticist as well as a nutritionist, will develop a game plan that involves behavioural and lifestyle management individually designed to keep you as healthy as possible throughout your life.

victoria

Genetic sequencing can’t tell you when you’ll get sick in the future with 100 percent certainty, but it can tell you is how to manage your lifestyle to maximize your wellness. It may be changes in your diet, exercise, medication, or special testing at your annual check-ups.

So a big part of wellness is predictive healthcare, and Victoria Healthcare is embracing and advocating this.

Learning early about your own individual health risks and what you may pass on to your children could be the difference between life and death.

Image source: Victoria Healthcare


Victoria Healthcare Internationals Clinics: Medicine with Compassion

By: Keely Burkey

It is often said that great things start from unexpected beginnings. Victoria Healthcare International Clinics are surely proof of this.

For Dr. Mason Cobb, one of Victoria’s founders, the oak is everywhere he looks. “I started in Vietnam with Dr. Tuong 20 years ago. Our project was revolutionary for the time and Saigon was just opening its eager eyes to a bigger world. Now when I look out the window in Vietnam and I see all the highrises and palm trees, I know how far from home I really am,” he reminisced. For Dr. Cobb, home was a small farm in rural Michigan – certainly a long way from the busy streets of Saigon.

clinicImage source: Victoria Healthcare

Victoria Healthcare’s co-founder, Dr. Nguyen Vinh Tuong, has a different upbringing. Raised in Saigon, he came from a family of doctors and nurses; it made sense for him to carry on in this tradition.

He remembers his early days of selling medicine directly to doctors, before pharmacies were established and regulated. Once he began studying at the Ho Chi Minh City Medicine and Pharmacy University, he could tell his professor the price per dosage of everything on the market. “They were stunned. They didn’t know how I knew that!” he laughed.

The paths of these two doctors crossed in 1997 when Dr. Cobb came to Vietnam to help set up the Columbia-Gia Dinh Clinic Joint Venture, Saigon’s first post-war international health clinic. Dr. Tuong worked hard for the licence to the Columbia clinic and together with Dr. Cobb got the project up and running.

Their current partnership was born a few years later. Dr. Cobb had gone back to pediatric surgery in Washington, while Dr. Tuong continued to pursue his interests in gastroenterology at the National University Hospital in Singapore and the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. While in the US, Dr. Tuong visited his friend in the Pacific Northwest and together they were excited to open another clinic in Vietnam together – this time on their own terms.

A Working Philosophy

For Dr. Cobb, high-quality healthcare is a layered concept. The first layer? Safety. “We want to make sure, of course, that nobody gets hurt or sicker while receiving care,” he said, listing the international levels of sterility and cleanliness that are practised at all four clinics, the newest one having just opened in late April of this year.

The second layer is “doing the best thing for the patient, even if it’s not the best business decision: ‘Patients First’ – even before business.” While this flies in the face of the daily ledger, it’s a hit that the doctors are willing to take. Rather than run tests that cost a lot but prove little, Dr. Cobb and Tuong have worked to help people medically, not hurt them financially. This mission is embedded in every Victoria doctor as a basic ethical responsibility.

clinicImage source: Victoria Healthcare

The last layer, while the most important, is also characteristically unconventional: “Respect. We respect the patient.” Respect is crucial to their healing philosophy, which is centred around preventative medicine. Rather than wait for an illness to bring a patient to their doors, Victoria strives to educate their patients on how to live well and be healthy. “This might not be good in a business sense,” Dr. Cobb joked, “but if they’re healthy, they’ll stick around longer.”

Continuing Education

To make sure all doctors and nurses stay current on medical research and technology, Dr. Tuong and Dr. Cobb have implemented weekly training courses. For nurses, this means the Continuing Nurse Education (CNE), a programme that tests medical knowledge and industry trends. For doctors, there’s the Continuing Medical Education (CME), which is conducted in English. Each physician must deeply research a topic in their specialty and present it to the rest of the medical staff. The question-and-answer sessions are robust and highly interactive. Technology is also harnessed to facilitate lively clinical discussions amongst doctors across all four care sites.

clinicImage source: Victoria Healthcare

This zest for learning is infectious, and the founders proudly report that every member of staff enthusiastically wants to be part of the team as well as the best that they can be.

Continued Engagement

It’s clear that Dr. Cobb and Dr. Tuong have found a recipe for success. However, Dr. Tuong doesn’t want to grow too quickly. “We open clinics very strategically,” he says. “We really want to make sure we’re providing exactly what the customers want and need in exactly the right place. After a few years, if the clinic does well, we open another one, always incorporating lessons learned.”

Victoria Healthcare’s just celebrated the grand opening of its newest clinic. This nine-storey palace of health on Dinh Tien Hoang in District 1 is a sight to behold. Features include two floors devoted entirely to pediatrics, a 128-slice CT scanner and an outpatient minor surgical ward.

I asked what they could expand in the future. Dr. Tuong smiled. “Maybe a hospital in two or three years.” That would be the oak forest.

Contact information:

Clinic 1: 135A Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan D
Clinic 2: Broadway D, 152 Nguyen Luong Bang, D7
Clinic 3: 20-20Bis -22 Dinh Tien Hoang, D1
info@victoriavn.com | +84 28 3910 4545 | www.victoriavn.com

Banner image source: Victoria Healthcare


Staying Healthy When Dining Out

By: Nat Paolone

With such a variety of enticing food options coercing our palates into gluttony, eating healthy outside your home proves quite challenging.

Looking at the menu, densely packed with highly caloric, over-sized portions (which we have become accustomed to in our modern world) we succumb and gorge. Busy lifestyles and poor choices while eating out often lead to further weight gain. Let’s have a look at how we can better deal with this and make better choices at the restaurant.

Societal Pressure

Socio-economics definitely influence our food choices both in selecting a restaurant/cafe and what we decide to order. We like to “fit in,” and eat what our friends munch on.

We’ve all heard too often from friends and family, “Oh come on, just eat it! You only live once, it won’t kill you…” Seemingly when you choose to eat healthy, you may become the outcast among your friends. This compounds matters as striving for acceptance is human nature.

Why all the talk of sociological factors when we just want healthy eating tips? Because the challenge is largely psychological and habitual. Most of it is really common sense but unfortunately eating substandard food has simply become socially accepted.

Right then, let’s get into making some better nutritional choices.

Photo by Pixabay

Local Food Suggestions

Vietnamese grilled fish and meats are ideal dishes, as well as soups and hot pots. Many Japanese and Korean restaurants around Saigon have solid, healthy choices in contrast to the majority of most Western menus offered throughout the city.

Next time you enjoy your favourite pho or bun bo, ask for less noodles in order to maximise your healthy diet. In regards to MSG, well, you know what it is, and we must accept that it’s nearly unavoidable when eating out in HCMC. Goi cuon (chicken spring roll), goi xoai (mango salad) and ca nuong la chuoi (grilled fish with banana leaf) are a few healthy Vietnamese options.

Photo by Pixabay

Indian food doesn’t have to be heavy. Go for the tandoor chicken breast or lamb as long as you make sure to request it with no butter or cream. Choosing brown rice over naan is also another way to manoeuvre around the fattening dishes lingering at your table. When eating Italian, skip the primi and go straight for secondi.

Sugar and excess carbs are fundamentally problematic. Lower these and increase the veggies and proteins. For all the lovely vegetarians, choose protein rich beans and legumes. This is a challenge in Vietnam as most vegetarian restaurants do not include beans on the menu. Sure tofu is good, but this protein packed veggie has a long history of nutritional controversy.

Portion size is paramount. Share a pizza instead of having a whole one, as so many of us are carb junkies consuming these saccharides voraciously, reducing portions is the goal.

How Unhealthy is Alcohol?

Alcohol! The ultimate socially accepted evil. What? Nothing wrong with a few glasses of wine paired with your meal you say? Well, not exactly. Regarding weight gain, alcohol is more than a double whammy. This potion is broken down into acetate, which your body will use first for energy before anything else you eat or drink. Alcohol is metabolised, fat oxidation stops, weight gain may occur and slowed metabolism may result.

Photo by Stephen Bentsen

An average glass of wine has 150 calories, and beer has about the same. People who drink alcohol with a meal often eat up to 30% more food, and considering the culture of pairing food and drink in HCMC, this may cause a problem for many.

Juices and Sodas

Photo by Lavanya Kumara Krishnan

Fruit juices are commonly thought to be a healthier choice over soda. Studies show that the effects on our bodies are virtually the same. According to a recent publication in the Nutrition journal, fruit juice has a fructose concentration of about 45.5 grams per litre, slightly less than the average of 50 grams per litre for sodas.

"The human body isn't designed to process [fructose] at such high levels. Fructose is processed almost entirely in the liver where it is converted to fat, which increases risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver disease,” says Michael Goran, Director of Childhood Obesity Center in Southern California.

Essentially sodas and fruit juices should be avoided altogether. Eat fresh fruit instead, which includes fibre, slowing down absorption of sugars and allowing the normal metabolism of fructose. As an alternative, drink lots of local fruit smoothies (like avocado) but without condensed milk or sugar. Try an avocado smoothie for healthy fats.

“The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.” - Mark Twain


Pollution, Water and Disease in Saigon: What You Should Know

By: City Pass Guide

We are all in danger of the negative effects of air pollution, water contamination, unclean food, worms and tropical diseases in HCMC. I sat down with Dr. Nicolas Lagüe from Centre Medical International to learn how we can manage to avoid these health problems.

Air Pollution

It’s no secret that there are substantial pollution problems in Vietnam. However, just how dangerous the air is, and exactly what effects it has on our health can be difficult to decipher. The main parts of the body that are affected by air pollution are the nose, throat, ears and lungs. Whether you are on a motorbike, in your car, walking or in your apartment, exposure to air pollution in HCMC is nearly unavoidable, and we need to make a personal choice if living here is worth the risk, especially considering how difficult it is to evaluate the related dangers.

Photo via Pixabay

The air contains toxic particles and nanoparticles, which can come from a variety of sources. One interesting fact I learned from Dr. Lagüe was that the non-exhaust particles, like the iron, copper and barium that are released during the breaking of a car or motorbike, produce significant nanoparticles. This fact, combined with the high concentration of exhaust emissions, make stopping at red lights a prime hotspot for heavy toxic air. According to the expert himself, the best way to protect yourself, outside of not living in the city, is to wear a proper mask. For this, you will need to spend the money and get a thick carbon cloth mask (FFP3 class) which will help filter out the bigger pollutants in the air.

Although driving a car exposes you to slightly less toxicity than when you are on a motorbike, it is still not enough to make a significant difference. In regards to your home, location is key. The further from the busy areas the less pollution there is, and the higher up your apartment the better. Therefore, if air quality is a major concern for you, try to find a flat on the highest floor possible. The closer to the ground your apartment is, the more exposure it receives.

Drinking Water Contamination

Everyone knows the first rule of thumb when living in most developing countries - don’t ever drink the tap water! It contains dangerous levels of nitrates and iron, not to mention a variety of other unsafe chemicals. The best way to ensure you are taking in the cleanest drinking water is to stick to mineral water. Alba is the name of one local company that is producing high quality bottled mineral water that contains an impressive amount of bicarbonates.

Photo via Pixabay

Bicarbonates are great for balancing the body’s gastric acidity levels and are also highly effective in preventing dental cavities. Not only is mineral water a sound alternative to many of the questionable drinking water sources available, but its health benefits are scientifically backed and heavily researched throughout the world. Another suggestion is to constantly switch the brands of mineral water that you drink due to the fact that each brand is comprised of different levels of electrolytes. A regular rotation like this is good for the body, and helps you maintain a healthy level of energy.

Food, Worms and Bacteria

Statistically, Vietnam does have a lower quality of food than most countries, which can result in an array of digestive problems, amongst other health related issues like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. However, the main concern lies in regards to bacteria and worms, and these are real threats that every resident needs to be taking precautions against. Let’s make it known that there are numerous varieties of worms and parasites out there and they are very easy to acquire. You might have worms and not even show any symptoms. Dr. Lagüe highly recommends that everyone living here take Zentel every six months. This is readily found at pharmacies all over town and is highly effective in expelling any worms that you may have. Worms and other parasites can lead to other more complicated issues if left untreated, like schistosomiasis, a condition that can cause diarrhoea, abdominal pain, a bloody stool or much worse.

Photo via Pixabay

In regards to food, the number one cautionary measure to take is with vegetables, as they can very easily harvest bacteria. Just by touching the outer skin of contaminated vegetables, larvae can be transferred into your body. It is suggested that any vegetables you buy need to be thoroughly washed while wearing gloves. Meat is another cause of concern, but also a debatable topic. Keep in mind that everyone’s body is different, and each individual can have different levels of immunity to different bacteria. Although it’s an undisputed fact that unrefrigerated meat increases the chances of bacterial contamination, doctors often disagree on how dangerous it is to consume it. Consumers should do their best to buy quality meat that is within their budget. Annam Gourmet is one trusted shop that sells quality meat that has been properly stored, and it’s a notable place to buy safer products. I’ve interviewed doctors that passionately advised against eating any street food under any circumstance, while others have said it’s perfectly fine to indulge once in awhile. Either way, it’s best to know your body and act accordingly.

Photo via Pixabay

Tropical Diseases in Vietnam

The best way to avoid many tropical diseases is to get vaccinated before you come to Vietnam. As many of the symptoms crisscross each other, it is often very difficult to identify what exactly you might have. Vietnam also has limited medical technology, which can make diagnostic processes more difficult. If you feel any strange symptoms like fatigue or joint pain as a result of a suspected insect bite, seek a medical expert immediately to get some blood work. Hydration and proper rest are crucial during this time.

Some of the most prevalent tropical diseases in Vietnam are Dengue Fever and Zika Virus. The danger with these viruses is that their symptoms vary and there is not much technology available in Vietnam to give proper blood tests. Do your best to wear mosquito repellent, especially outside of the city limits, where the number of mosquitos increases. There are several types of mosquitos which can carry dangerous tropical diseases, and many cannot withstand the pollution of the city. However, once you leave the city limits, and the pollution levels are lower, there is a substantially higher risk of exposure. As a whole, it’s next to impossible to control if you are bitten by a mosquito or not. The best thing you can do is to be aware of the symptoms of Dengue and Zika, and if you experience them do not procrastinate seeking treatment.


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