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.
Sexual health: Unprotected sex can spread HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis and warts.
The bottom line is having your travel insurance ready before the trip.
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. If you are robbed, do not hesitate to contact the local police. Many tourists have their stolen possessions returned by this way.
Recommended health and safety website:
Vietnam Travel Watch - Travel warnings and safety notices for travelers to Vietnam.
Content by Phan Dieu Linh and Nguyen Vu Hanh Dzung
Other related links
Lonely Planet Health Vietnam - health precautions and tips for tourists
MASTA Medical advise for tourists
No jet lag All about jet lag
WHO Official web site of the World Health Organization
Vietnam Healthcare A brief introduction to healthcare service in Vietnam.