Med School Professor Praises North Vietnam's Medical Care

A professor at the Medical School who visited North Vietnam in October called the North Vietnamese health care system "impressive" last night, praising its ability to reach every segment of the society.

Dr. Pierce Gardner, assistant professor of Medicine, told a Mather House gathering that the Vietnamese rely on the principle that "anybody can function in the health system," High school and junior high school students who study hygiene and first aid form an integral part of the medical program, Gardner said.

The North Vietnamese system encompasses both the sophisticated 1000-bed hospitals in Hanoi and Haiphong and smaller infirmaries in rural villages, he added. Modern doctors cooperate with the practitioners of traditional methods such as acupuncture and herbal cures.

Gardner contrasted the medical systems of North and South Vietnam. He said the South has "elegant" facilities in Saigon but an absence of medical care in the villages.

Gardner credited the success of the North Vietnamese to their emphasis on preventive medicine. He said that the preventive care has helped in the disappearance of cholera, smallpox and polio which plague South Vietnam.