Hanoi possesses basic health care and medical services however, majority of the health services in Hanoi apply to the local people alone as staff and practitioners are not qualified to prescribe in English. It is also unfortunate to say that Vietnam is not at par with international standards for medical facilities. The country is often found lacking in advanced medical facilities and supplies. However, there are still a good number of English-speaking medical practitioners to be found in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. This makes health in Hanoi something not entirely worrisome for tourists.
Travelers will most likely find the Hanoi French Hospital appropriate for tourists as it is the primary international hospital in Hanoi that serves foreigners. Although not all practitioners and staff converse well in English, many of the English-speaking health care professionals in Hanoi work at the Hanoi French Hospital. Located along Phuong Mai Road, this 68-bed multi-disciplinary medical care facility offers crucial medical and surgical services that aim to serve the locals and foreigners of the northern part of Vietnam.
Another distinguished hospital is the Family Medical Practice that opened back in 1991 in Hanoi. Now equipped with dozens of clinics, the Family Medical Practice is prepared with an emergency ambulance, a medical center, an in-house pharmacy and stand-by planes and helicopters for air transport emergencies. Located along Kim Ma Road in the Ba Dinh District of Hanoi, only a few multi-lingual clinics are available with specialties in tropical medicines, pediatrics, gynecology, physiotherapy and dermatology.
Other notable Hanoi hospitals include the International Sos located in Hai Ba Trung, the Viet Duc Hospital found along Trang Thi Street and the Bac Mai Hospital located in Hanoi that all provide basic health care services in the northern region of Vietnam. For the benefit of tourists, some embassies have provided lists of local English-speaking physicians so it would be good to have this list on-hand in case of emergencies. The local ambulance number is 115 but unfortunately it only caters to the Vietnamese language.
Know, however, that only cash payment is accepted in advance by doctors and hospitals in Hanoi. Many common medications are not found in Hanoi, which makes it absolutely necessary to carry sufficient medicine with you when touring the city.
When already in Hanoi, travelers should avoid drinking tap water, street beverages and street-side food. Almost all street vendors do not have access to clean water and soap so it is best to avoid buying from the streets. Only drink purified water and boiled beverages like coffee and tea. Also know that cholera is always a danger in all parts of Vietnam, so it is best to stay cautious.
When health in Hanoi is concerned, it is absolutely necessary for tourists to know about the health services that Hanoi can provide. Despite so much negativity, the large inflow of tourists that come to Hanoi have made a positive reflection on the city as they are slowly offering more and more services close to the standards of Western Europe and Northern America. This then makes visiting Hanoi a more comforting place to visit in case of emergencies.