|Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Xuyen presents gifts to children with cancer at the Viet Nam National Hospital of Paediatrics. A workshop held yesterday said non-infectious diseases, including cancer, account for two thirds of diseases and health-related deaths nationwide. — VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc
HA NOI (VNS) — Non-infectious diseases, such as high-blood pressure, pulmonary ailments, asthma, diabetes and cancer, make up two thirds of the total incidence of diseases and health-related deaths in the nation, and the uptrend is expected to increase.
This warning was given at a workshop on improving communication on preventive health held by the Department of Preventive Health in Ha Noi yesterday.
The workshop was told that in 2012 there were 520,000 health-related deaths, including 379,000 caused by non-infectious diseases.
This means that out of every 10 health-related deaths, seven were from non-infectious diseases - also known as non-communicable diseases. The conditions driving these diseases were identified as smoking, alcohol abuse, irrational eating habits and a lack of physical activity.
Tran Quoc Bao from the Department of Preventive Health said that non-infectious diseases caused serious consequences economically and socially through increased healthcare costs and reduced productivity.
"Treating non-infectious diseases costs 40-50 times more than treating infectious diseases because it requires higher technology, more expensive drugs and prolonged treatment," he said. "And non-infectious diseases are more likely to develop complications."
To prevent the diseases more effectively, Bao said it was necessary to formulate a national strategy for non-infectious diseases. He said this should be community-based and engage different ministries as well as consolidation of facilities for physical examination.
Tran Dac Phu, director of Preventive Health Department, told a seperate conference yesterday on infectious diseases that in 2015, Viet Nam was likely to face new threats such as H5N1.
"To brace for this, the Ministry of Health will keep a close eye on the situation, quickly responding to the first case that breaks out," Phu said.
"Also, the health sector commits itself to working closely with the press to inform the public of upgrades on outbreaks as they happen and precautions for them to take. All supplies of drugs, chemicals and equipment will also be made readily available."
The A-Type H7N9 virus strain has become more complicated and shows signs of spreading in China, especially in Guangdong Province, where 111 cases have been confirmed.
Phu said that while there had been no report of H7N9 in either humans or poultry in Viet Nam, the risk was huge because Guangdong was a favourite destination for Vietnamese travellers and traders.
He added that H7N9 did not show any signs in poultry and that its presence could only be discovered by taking samples from birds for testing.
Phu said that the health sector would intensify border-crossing checks for H7N9 and other strains of fowl influenza viruses in the winter-spring season, and especially in the days up to Tet (Lunar New Year). "All equipment, drugs and task forces now get ready for the fight," he said.
The workshop was told that while efforts were being made to prevent potential epidemics and emerging diseases, there have been reports of several children in Ha Noi being taking to hospital after contracting whooping cough (pertussis), which is a highly infectious respiratory infection.
However, Doctor Nguyen Tran Hien, director of National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) assured the public that there was no risk of it developing into an epidemic thanks to the high inoculation rate.
Rubella outbreak in Binh Duong
Nearly 1,600 workers at the WANEK Woodcraft Co., Ltd. in the southern province of Binh Duong were given free rubella vaccines yesterday following an outbreak of the disease at the company that started early this month.
Vaccinations were given to workers by the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMPI) and the local Department of Health at the My Phuoc Industrial Park in an effort to control the outbreak. There have been 151 suspected cases so far.
The first case was a 21-year-old female worker detected on January 2, who showed symptoms of rubella, including a light fever, coughing and rashes.
Within a month, more than 100 workers were showing similar symptoms, including two pregnant women, reported Binh Duong's Department of Health.
Test results from 20 of the 29 samples taken proved positive for rubella, according to the HCMPI.
A report by the HCMPI said that most of the victims contracted the disease at the shared residential complex for My Phuoc Industrial Park's workers.
"The large number of workers at the industrial park means there is a high chance of the outbreak spreading to other companies or even to other industrial parks in the region," said HCMPI head Phan Trong Lan.
Vaccinations had only been prescribed to three per cent of workers, leaving the company's 600 female workers at risk, added Lan.
"Rubella is especially dangerous for women pregnant for less than 10 weeks as more than 90 per cent of newborns will suffer complications," Lan said.
Rubella during early pregnancy might result in miscarriage, foetal death or congenital defects.
There are currently 13 pregnant workers at WANEK Company. — VNS