I believe Vietnamese government applied the Michael Porter SWOT analysis to Vietnam healthcare, political and administrative system facing Covid. The result being an effective and suitable strategy and tactics to beat Covid19 spread whilst preserving country medical and economic growth.
SWOT Matrix: Strength | Weakness | Opportunities | Threat
1) Know your WEAKNESSES: Healthcare in Vietnam is… lousy.
Vietnam has very limited intensive Care Units ICU or hospitals for infectious diseases.
As a consequence, the baseline strategy is: Avoid at all costs Hospital admissions. Vietnam doesn’t have the technology, the facilities, the knowledge, the resources to face a spreading Covid19 to cure more than a dozen patients per hospital. We have 4 in Saigon and 2 in Hanoi, that may be extended, and it was soon extended to a dozen private hospital to accommodate expatriates with some choices
Know your STRENGTH: An army of medical staff, civil servants and national security officers.
They have plenty of time and administrative procedural skills to scrutinize and apply the regulations from the top.
Vietnam has bred an army of trained professionals in applying efficient government decisions 1.0 and 2.0… Flashback in history is understanding the ‘management team experience & practice’; since September 2, 1945 when Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam independence from the French colonialists.
The party has successfully maintained security and order in Vietnam till today 2021: 75 years of daily practice nationwide and abroad. Some may say, since the 1880s, with the first French colonialists, the nationalists, the American, the opponents… The ‘hide & seek game’… is now applied to Covid19 as an easy extension.
THE PHYSICAL WAR: We don’t have hospitals but we have large ‘confinement’ and military locations.
- Find the F0-F1, here the Covid19 infected
- Circle the F2-F3 find their friends and close relationships in confinement centers or Building
- Cross check interviews: Ask neighbors, cameras, mobile phone providers who are the F0, F1, F2, F3. Inform, print, radio, TV or just ask the neighborhood and the population. ‘Interviews’ will be conducted by Ministry of Health officials and doctors, the police or the army depending on the reluctance of the candidate.
- The F4 left in the neighborhood or office colleagues are strictly home quarantined for 7-to-15-days until confirmed NO SYMPTOMS (VN and expatriates were the toughest see the Uk pilot Buddha bar effect). Community police and neighbors will take care.
- If spread continues over the next 2-to-3 days (monitored from locally and reported to the National committee) Vietnamese authorities will extend to home/house/building/street/villages/town… with immediate effect. That’s what Hoi An, Danang and Hue experimented for 10-days end-summer 2020.
- Treat and eradicate the virus, whatever it costs (read the Buddha bar British pilot Covid19 fight Vietnam)
THE INFORMATION WAR: Digital transformation healthcare and prevention, and is not “a business strategy’, it’s a tool to achieve Covid19 fight
Before we start this paragraph, let’s clean out a cliche saying that “Vietnam hides information from their people, all residents of the world and the whole world. Say that to any politician, that will make their day laughing LOL!
The Covid19 spread and death has not been hidden to the people of Vietnam.
Just 3 reasons should be enough to persuade ‘the Western world’ and people who don’t know Vietnam and its peoplee:
#1 Vietnamese do have mobile phones, Facebook account, IM apps and photo function working fully -sometimes a bit too much-. They share any drama in real time, because they have no other story to tell.
#2 Vietnamese are emotional, just watch the movies on TV channels without ‘any reasons’ -by Western standards, they cry. 60min movie = 30min crying, therefore 1 death in the family= a few weeks or live crying out in the street or on Facebook.
#3 Vietnamese love gossiping, TV is so boring! At the cafe, at work, out of work, at home, at birthdays, wedding, day, night, phone, livestream… Those who know Vietnamese see exactly what I mean, right?
Vietnam is famous for controlling the content, the broadcast and the broadcast channels. Where 1 person=1 voice, in Vietnam 1 people’s party=1 voice.
Information control, was not about lying to their own people, It was all used to defeat Covid spread, Here is 3 main ways it was used to foster energy and focus, pointing at China -the overarch enemy- sending 3 messages:
- The source of the problem, Wuhan=China: “they want us dead” was not an official stance but the Vietnamese people secular and visceral antagonism did the shortcut when watching the neutral and factual TV news
- The huge problem requesting immediate attention as 10-Feb-2020 two big hospitals were built in 10-days specifically to treat Coronavirus patients: it is ‘clear and present danger’
- Just before Tet, reminding the Vietnamese of their own history to win over the US enemies, with the Tet offensive Feb-1968 by famous Vo Nguyen Giap: ‘It is a WAR so Tet lunar new year 2020 can wait!”
The above explains a compulsive, paranoid, national pride and boost of energy to “beat the Coronavirus sent to Vietnam by China”!
Know your THREAT: years of Vietnam – China intertwined relationships and borders
#1 Vietnam has 1,306 kilometers of borders with China made porous by tourism, labour migrations, trade and corruption at the gates.
#2 The same goes to much desired tourism business, goods and workers trades. On both sides, some greedy and unscrupulous businessmen will take a chance to keep their income regardless of National health safety and life savings issues or Covid19 fight. Money talks!
As a consequence: with immediate effect BORDERS CLOSED to infectious neighbors… starting Now: on Feb-2, 2020
Countries mastering the Covid spread can be eligible to on-going exchanges, provided Vietnam is under control inside borders.
Know your OPPORTUNITIES: Vietnam Winning over Covid19 whatever it takes!
A brief history shows ‘Vietnamese have never been so good at fighting hard against the toughest enemies: the Chinese, the French, the Japanese, the American, the Anti-communists and today Covid19.
“Vietnamese are pacific people, not daily or casual fighters, but when pushed to the limits they are the fiercest nation” could have been General de Castries, Westmoreland, the Ming, The Qing, bitter quote after being defeated
ALL WEAPONS ALLOWED: END OF DISCUSSION. IT’S A NATIONAL SECURITY, HEALTH & MAKE A LIVINGACTIVITIES FOR THE VIETNAMESE THAT IS AT STAKE
A strategic and tactical command center to fight Covid is sitting daily alongside the prime minister cabinet, and includes representatives of: the ministry of Health, the Center for Disease Control (WHO) CDC-Vietnam, the Min.of Interior, Min. of Culture & Information and the Min.of Science & Technology.
The mission if only focused on Search, fight and adjust immediately “the strikes” against any Covid19 cluster. It is a supra-national ad hoc body eradicating Covid19 with the help of an army of zealous government staff, administration, medical, omnipresent district & community police and the citizens to support and win the fight. Here is the “arsenal” and modus operandi deployed,
#1 One-way decision from Top to down, and feedback in real time by sms to all the fighters and Vietnam residents. No alternative voice, in tech parlance, total noise reduction to hear just the melody conducted by the chef d’orchestre.
#2 One-instant communication as it is announced on TV, so it is posted on any of your walls 1.0 or 2.0
#3 One-action nationwide: there are so many administrative, health & security layers in Vietnam from Ministry to hamlet (a largely paper signed and red stamped notifications are distributed daily) as per the famous official red invoice (look for the red stamp and signatory person in blue ink)
#4- Each paper instruction is stamped with a name on it to trace the person in charge, reminder of ‘Crime and punishment’ novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky
#5 Real-time reporting on Omni-channel feeds. ALL CHANNELS ARE REQUISITIONED by the National Covid19 fight committee. Ignorance of the Law is no excuse.
#6 One army of civil servants (poor and needy) are ready to “ zealously” collect money from infractions. In that sense, capitalism was a strong motivator to effective management of the Covid19 crisis.
It’s national security, The Community good primes over personal opinion. Some expatriates felt like not going to quarantine or hospital confinement, their embassy was contacted, their visa revoked and escort to the airport was arranged -courtesy of Covid19 fight committee-.
The Committee for Covid fights meets daily, checks advancement then decides in the open to the people on the morning, noon and evening news.
As the picture says Vietnam Vo Dich= Vietnam champion (world champion?) of Covcid19 fight: An army of state employees, military, government workers and volunteers, communist youth and volunteers, suddenly had a meaningful assignment to Save the people of Vietnam. Locals and expatriates included (read the Buddha bar British pilot Covid19 fight Vietnam)