Health and safety in Vietnam



Health care in Vietnam varies in quantity and quality. Big cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have very good private and state-owned hospitals and clinics, while it is often hard to see a doctor in rural areas.

Pharmacies, however, can be found in almost every town. Write down the name of the medicine you want to buy, or use body language to explain, as not many pharmacist can communicate in English.

Prior to departure, you may want to consult your doctor on vaccination and get well-prepared for a small first-aid-kit. The following vaccines are recommended: Polio, tetanus, yellow fever, typhoid, Japanese encephalitis. Your personal kit must have solution to stomachache, headache and such.

The sun shines over half of a day along the country, so make sure you bring plenty of sunscreen. Additionally, the dust rate in the air is quite high in industrial cities; it is advisable you buy a small mask just like the local in case you are allergic.

Vietnam is a tropical country, which entails many kinds of dangerous bacteria and insects. Mosquito repellents are essential. If there are cases of malaria or dengue fever, you should go to doctor immediately.

Health risks in the country include Hepatitis A and E, typhoid, dengue, cholera, bird flu, rabies, bilharzias, diarrhea, Japanese encephalitis, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. In 2004 there has been an outbreak of bird flu that causes so many lives in the country. Visitors are notified to practice caution when eating poultry dishes especially raw or uncooked poultry products. Avoiding contacts with live poultry is necessary too. Water is drinkable but visitors prefer to drink bottled water. There are health care with English-speaking doctors in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Pharmacies are enough in the country but make sure to check the expiry date. It is better to have a health insurance before going on Vietnam.

The bottom line is having your travel insurance ready before the trip.

Safety issues

Emergency contact number: Police (113) – Fire (114) – Ambulance (115)

Vietnam is generally a safe place for tourists. Pick-pocket is reported to be decreasing significantly. Drive-by thieves on motorbikes are also common in there. So if you want to wander around the cities, it is suggested that you should remove anything that can catch some extra attentions like jewelries and nice bags. If you are robbed, do not hesitate to contact the local police. Many tourists have their stolen possessions returned by this way.

Watch also for those taxi-girls that hug and ask men for some good time and then they will disappear along with your wallet or wrist watch. Be aware also on those motorbike-rentals because they have a duplicate key on your rented bike. A third person may follow you and steal the bike after you locked it some place. After reporting to the owner that the bike was stolen you would pay for a new bike or forfeit any documents that you left in them like passport, visa, or deposit.



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