DA NANG (VNS)— Viet Nam will offer better medical treatment and further support to people with mental health problems as part of a national programme lately ratified by the Government.
|A doctor helps people with mental disabilities exercise at the Nho Quan Rehabilitation Centre for War Invalids in northern Ninh Binh Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Huu Viet
The programme on community-based social assistance and rehabilitation of people with mental disorders during 2011-20 was launched in the central city of Da Nang yesterday.
Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Trong Dam said it would cost VND8.38 trillion (US$400 million) to carry out the programme, with a larger portion to provide facilities and equipment for 50 healthcare and treatment centres.
"We plan to set up centres in six regions that each provide treatment to between 300 and 500 patients," he said.
Minister Pham Thi Hai Chuyen told the meeting that Viet Nam provided regular treatment to 10,000 people with severe mental disorders at 26 centres across the country.
The Government also provided an allowance of VND200,000 ($9.5) each month for mental patients.
"However, we are only able to help 5 per cent of those in need due to lack of staff and facilities," she said.
The minister warned that 77 per cent of the 200,000 people with severe mental disorders could commit dangerous crimes such as murder, assault and damaging property.
She stressed that Viet Nam would struggle with the alarming number of people with mental disorders in the rapid processes of mordenisation and industrialisation.
She also called for co-operation from relevant ministries, the community and international organisations to help people with mental illnesses.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) deputy representative in Viet Nam Jesper Moller said: "People are living with less stable, more stressful and isolated lives in many countries including Viet Nam. However, public services in Viet Nam are still working on decade-old models when people's lives were shorter and the threats we faced were mostly physical."
"The programme marks a historic benchmark for Viet Nam when leaders, experts, representatives from ministries, universities and organisations can discuss solutions to establish an effective community-based mental heath system in Viet Nam," Jesper said.
He said that a large number of Vietnamese women and children were affected by mental issues including educational stress and behavioural disorders among kids, while many women suffered from prenatal depression and anxiety.
"UNICEF, with other partners, is supporting the Government to explore effective solutions to address this issue."
The director of the medical service administration under the Ministry of Heath, Luong Ngoc Khue, said Viet Nam had 33 mental hospitals with 3,000 psychiatrists and nurses, but the number was far from meeting the actual need of an increasing number of mental patients.
Participants will continue their discussions about caring for people with mental disorders today. — VNS