A doctor talks to TB patients about the disease at a hospital in Thái Bình Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Ngọc
HÀ NỘI –– Việt Nam records some 130,000 new tuberculosis (TB) patients each year, but many cases remain undiscovered, allowing the disease to spread in the community, officials said.
Only 70 per cent of TB cases have been discovered, creating the risk of undetected cases spreading the disease among the community, Nguyễn Viết Nhung, director of the National Hospital of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases, said.
Some 100,000 TB patients were discovered in last year, an increase of 155 people compared with figures in 2014. Of these patients, 50,000 were infected with TB of the lungs, he added.
The country ranks 12th out of the 20 countries most severely affected by TB according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and ranks 14th among the 27 countries with the highest number of multi-drug resistant TB patients.
TB is treatable with a six-month course of antibiotics, but the discovery of new cases faces some difficulties for different reasons, including people’s limited understanding of TB prevention and society’s discrimination, which leads TB sufferers to hide their disease, according to a report by the National Tuberculosis Prevention and Control Programme (NTBPCP).
Nhung said the treatment for TB patients has progressed. In the past, it took multi-drug resistant TB patients 20 months to 24 months to treat their disease, causing them to feel discouraged. However, Việt Nam is now applying new methods, allowing them to recover within nine months and saving on expenses.
Nguyễn Bình Hòa, secretary of the NTBPCP, said it aimed to reduce the number of TB cases to 131 in 100,000 people, the death of TB patients to fewer than 10 in 100,000 and to ensure that 100 per cent of TB sufferers are treated with a standard formula by 2020.
In addition, the program will build a network to research TB and lung diseases.
To ensure high effectiveness, it was necessary to enhance people’s awareness of TB and avoid spreading the disease within the community, Hòa said. –– VNS