The Hanoitimes - It is imperative to consider tuberculosis (TB) prevention and control a socio-economic development target, with the aim of eradicating this disease by 2030.
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan made this remark at a March 18 meeting in response to World Tuberculosis Day (March 24) and a walking programme entitled “Anti-TB for Community Health”.
The events were held by the Vietnam Red Cross Society (VRCS) in collaboration with the National TB Control Programme (NTCP), drawing the participation of more than 5,000 people.
In his speech at the meeting, Deputy PM Nhan said the NTCP has obtained initial results such as building a nationwide TB control network, successfully detecting and treating many TB patients. However, the TB situation in Vietnam still poses challenges as the number of cases of TB/HIV and medicine resistant TB remains high. In addition, the programme has not yet attracted enough qualified medical workers and is not yet fully equipped with essential medical facilities, while expenditures for TB control are mainly dependent on international aid.
The Deputy PM called on relevant ministries and sectors, social and economic organizations and all the people to be active in the fight against TB for the health of the community.
Vietnam ranks 12 th among 22 countries with the highest number of TB patients, and 14 th among 27 countries having a high burden of medicine resistant TB in the world.
The country has approximately 180,000 people infected with TB and nearly 30,000 die of the disease annually.
As many as 100,000 TB patients are diagnosed each year and 92 percent of them are cured. It is worth noting that the number of medicine resistant TB patients is estimated at 5,000-6,000 in Vietnam .
The Central Lung Hospital has attributed the objective challenge of the NTCP to the high number of TB/HIV infections and medicine resistant TB cases, the shortage of staff in charge of TB control and a public-private coordination mechanism. Aside from this, the declaration of infections under the Law on Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases is not yet implemented properly.
The national programme will continue to intensify early detection measures to treat the disease more effectively in the future. Vietnam aims to halve the number of TB patients by 2015 and keep the number of medicine resistant TB cases to no more than that of 2000.
On the occasion, the NTCP, VRCS, the Ministry of Information and Communication, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Youth Union launched many practical activities to respond to World TB Day, such as issuing a set of “For TB free Vietnam ” stamps, organizing a writing contest on TB and a youth discussion on anti-TB activities.
At the meeting, 500 people donated blood for the health of TB patients and the community.
Right after the event, Deputy PM Nhan visited and presented gifts to patients at the Central Lung Hospital .
World Tuberculosis Day is a worldwide event that aims to raise public awareness of tuberculosis and the efforts made to prevent and treat this disease. This event is held on March 24 each year and is promoted by organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO).