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Anti-corruption official has blood cancer

Update: January, 08/2015 - 09:28

HA NOI (VNS) — Medical experts and officials yesterday rejected rumours that the blood-disorder afflicting Nguyen Ba Thanh, former Chairman of the Da Nang People's Committee, had been caused by poisoning.

The health of Thanh, a high-profile official credited with modernising Da Nang and leading anti-corruption efforts in his capacity as deputy head of the Central Anti-Corruption Steering Committee and head of the Party Central Committee for Internal Affairs, has sparked widespread public concern and dominated media reports of late.

Addressing a press conference on the issue, Tran Huy Dung, deputy head of a board that oversees healthcare for central-level officials, said that Thanh had been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a type of blood cancer, in May 2014.

He was first admitted to the 108 Military Hospital, transferred later to Singapore for further treatment and flown in August to the US, where he received three cycles of chemotherapy and was awaiting a cord blood transplant.

However, based on advice from medical experts in the US, family members have decided not to perform the transplant and focus on improving his health back home in Da Nang.

Dung affirmed that the treatment given to Thanh is in line with health care standards for Party and State's senior officials.

Nguyen The Ky, deputy head of the Central Committee for Publicity and Education, said the media should not sensationalise the case, because this was a sickness that could afflict anyone.

"Upon his return, it's advisable that he and his family are allowed privacy at this time," Ky said.

The exact date that Thanh will return to Da Nang has not been disclosed, and several media reports have suggested that his flight was initially delayed due to bad weather conditions in the US.

However, hundreds of locals thronged the Da Nang Airport on Tuesday night, awaiting Thanh's arrival from the US.

Thanh, 61, served as the Secretary of Da Nang Party Committee and chairman of Da Nang People's Committee from 2003-13. He is credited with transforming the city with modern infrastructure developments and administrative reforms.

According to the US-based National Cancer Institute, "a myelodysplastic syndrome is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow does not make enough healthy blood cells and there are abnormal (blast) cells in the blood and/or bone marrow." — VNS

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