Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — The prevalence of malnutrition in hospitalised patients in Việt Nam remains high, ranging from 20-50 per cent as many hospitals fail to pay appropriate attention to ensure nutrition for inpatients, health officials said.
The absence of a department of nutrition and diet at many hospitals, a lack of trained dietitians and poor food service at hospital canteens are blamed for the high prevalence of malnutrition among patients, said Đỗ Thị Ngọc Diệp, director of the HCM City Nutrition Centre.
The unhealthy eating habits of patients resulted in malnutrition, Diệp said at a conference held last Saturday in HCM City.
In HCM City, the prevalence of malnutrition among patients stands at 40.7 per cent.
A high prevalence of malnutrition was common for patients in the departments of oncology, respiratory, surgical, traditional medicine and intensive care, she said.
Poor nutritional status increased the risk of infectious complications, a poorer clinical outcome, an increased length of hospital stay and costs as well as morbidity and mortality, she added.
According to Lương Ngọc Khuê, head of the Ministry of Health’s Department of Medical Examination and Treatment, nutrition plays a vital role for hospitalised patients during their treatment, especially those with severe illnesses such as cancer, post-surgery, diabetes, kidney failure, severe burns and gastroenterology.
Nearly 30 per cent of hospitals across the country have no nutrition and dietetic department to provide advice about nutrition and diet in relation to health and illness.
Participants at the conference suggested the Ministry of Health take measures to ensure all hospitals have a department of nutrition and diet.
Meals for patients should be covered by health insurance benefits, they said. —VNS