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In Vietnam, health checkup is like a 15-min Q&A session: reader

In Vietnam, health checkup is like a 15-min Q&A session: reader

Saturday, August 05, 2017, 15:32 GMT+7

Editor’s note: Dai Duong, a Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, shares his underwhelming experience with a pre-employment health checkup that he felt was mostly a perfunctory procedure.

I recently went for a medical checkup as a requisite for an upcoming promotion at work.

It was early in the afternoon when I arrived at a local medical center, and there were already others who were waiting for their turn to undergo the examination.

Their purposes varied. One needed the medical papers for his promotion into a public notary. Another wanted to become a salesperson for a mobile shop. And there was one who needed the certificate for a job application.

I filled out a pre-printed form with my personal details and medical history, paid a fee of VND205,000 (US$9), and embarked upon my journey.

The eye examination lasted for 30 seconds, with the optometrist pointing at a few letters on an eye chart for me to read before noting down my vision.

The dental and ear, nose and throat checkups were even faster. They mostly involved the doctor asking general questions, me answering those questions, and the doctor signing into my checklist of ‘normal’ body parts.

The ‘best’ part was the physical examination. “Are your limbs normal?” the doctor asked while signing his name into my checklist, without batting an eye at his patient. Barely had I answered “yes, they are” than he stamped ‘normal’ into my examination results.

Next up were blood test, urine test and radiography. Contrary to my belief that it would take hours to get my hands on these results, it was only moments later that I was guided into the office of a senior doctor, who stamped ‘fit for work’ on my examination papers that told me it was all done.

From start to finish, my entire health checkup lasted for no more than 15 minutes.

In my opinion, medical checkups are necessary for promotions and job recruitments, as good health is the prerequisite for good performance at work. From the perspective of employers, they have the right to be informed about their employees’ state of health and their fitness for work before making important appointments.

However, I can’t help but wonder in what way would these kinds of perfunctory, lightning-speed health checkups benefit either the employee or the employer?

I’m not even sure if my employer would bother to look at my health results, or would they just hastily check off a list of required papers before shoving them all into a drawer and never look at them again?

It is therefore necessary for relevant authorities to tighten control over how hospitals are performing medical checkups to bring the activity back in course. Medical results must be considered legal documents that stand to testify a person’s fitness to work in a particular position.

It would only be to the employee’s benefit to be informed about their medical conditions in order to seek timely treatment and expertise.

If medical checkups continue to feel like a rushed interview with questions like “are your limbs normal?” they would be nothing more than a waste of time and money.

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