Background: Vietnam is one of the most populous countries in Southeast Asia, yet it displays an unsettling lack of doctors.
Aims: Medical education is an important factor contributing to this issue, yet little is known about the system currently in place in Vietnam.
Methods: Through an extensive literary search of medical schools' and Ministry of Health's data, we have examined the current medical education system in Vietnam.
Results: At present, there are 12 medical universities, and the general curriculum at each university follows a national framework but tends to vary from university to university. Medical training lasts either 4 or 6 years, with competitive graduates attending residency programs following graduation. While examinations are required to graduate, the lack of a national licensing exam makes it difficult to ensure that a nation-wide standard of quality exists, both at the medical universities themselves as well as amongst the doctors graduating from them.
Conclusions: The development and institution of a national exam would introduce a standard of training throughout Vietnam's medical education system. Further, a substantial portion of a doctor's education is in subjects that are loosely related to medicine. When looking forward it will be important to evaluate whether or not these non-medical subjects detract from the quality of medical training.