The Ministry of Health is working on a recommendation by the Ho Chi Minh City-based Pasteur Institute to provide soaps to all areas affected by hand, foot and mouth disease.
Washing hands with soap is an effective measure to prevent the hand, foot and mouth disease Photo: Tuoi Tre
Tran Dac Phu, head of the Health Environmental Management Department, said the ministry would begin to issue soaps in all HFMD hotbeds in a week or two.
Ongoing campaigns to popularize washing of hands with soap and other hygiene practices should cover children under five to prevent the disease, he said.
While earlier studies found that only 12 percent of the Vietnamese population washed hands regularly, the latest surveys done in 10 provinces and cities where the campaign has been ongoing found that the rate has increased to 54 percent.
Since there is no vaccine or specific medication for the disease, precautionary measures, including washing hands with soap regularly by children and their caretakers, were necessary, Phu said.
A recent study found that more children contract the disease at home than in school, he said, pointing out that it possibly meant that parents failed to keep their houses and household items clean.
Therefore, household hygiene and treatment of household waste must be improved, he added.
Truong Huu Khanh, head of the Infectious Diseases Department at the Pediatric 1 Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, called on parents to protect their children from the disease.
A doctor at the Pediatrics Hospital 1 in HCMC examines a child with hand, foot and mouth disease
Houses should be kept clean and hygienic and chloramine should be used to disinfect areas contaminated by children’s excrement or urine, he said.
Children with the disease should be kept at home isolated from others, while children should not be taken to crowded places in pandemic-hit areas unless absolutely necessary, he said.
Children with the disease should not use swimming pools to avoid transmission to others, he added.
HCMC leads the country with 7,025 HFMD patients followed by Dong Nai with 3,413, and Dong Thap with 2,015. The city has also reported the most deaths this year -- 22.
All schools to be inspected
The Ho Chi Minh City Departments of Health and Education and Training will inspect all schools, especially preschools, for hygiene to prevent hand, foot and mouth disease from spreading in schools.
It follows orders from the people’s committee to take all necessary measures to control the disease.
All schools would be asked to instruct staff and students to regularly wash their hands with soap, Tran Khac Huy, head of the Department of Education and Training’s Student Affairs Division, said.