HA NOI (VNS)— Preventive health care, especially the Expanded Programme for Immunisation (EPI), has played a key role in protecting people from disease during the past 25 years, said the EPI director, Nguyen Tran Hien.
|President Truong Tan Sang gives his regards to mothers and their children who receive vaccine injection in the Tu Liem Health Centre in Ha Noi. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyen Khang
"The country has reduced 6.7 million infection cases and 42,900 deaths thanks to the EPI," Hien said.
"The mortality rate of children under 5 has remarkably declined over the past 20 years, going from 51.2 per thousand in 1990 to 23 per thousand last year. The same rate in children under 1 also declined from 23 per thousand to 12 per thousand," he noted.
Millions of children have also been vaccinated, significantly lowering the rate of diseases with preventive vaccines. Measles occurrences, for example, were 182 times lower in 2012 compared to the days before 1984, when the programme was implemented.
At yesterday's conference, State President Truong Tan Sang urged agencies at all levels to continue prioritising preventive health care.
"Prevention is better than cure," he said, "so the importance of preventive work cannot be underestimated."
The president added that failure to adequately provide people with preventive treatment would increase the risk of pandemics.
Sang asked the health ministry to create policies relating to investment, human resource training and scientific research.
He also urged the preventive health care sector to ensure vaccines came from reputable sources and to draw up a plan for producing local vaccines in efforts to improve the quality of preventive medicine.
While praising the health sector's contributions to disease prevention, Sang also thanked international countries and organisations for supporting the expanded programme for immunisation in Viet Nam over the past years. — VNS