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Health sector calls for further action in the fight against TB in Việt Nam

Update: March, 24/2020 - 19:16
Patients pay for treatment at the National Lung Hospital in Hà Nội. — VNS Photo Thanh Hải

HÀ NỘI — The health sector has called on everyone to work together in strengthening awareness of Tuberculosis (TB) and further actions from relevant authorities and leaders in the fight against TB in Việt Nam.

The call was put forward at a meeting held by the National TB Prevention Programme on Tuesday to mark World Tuberculosis Day, March 24.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Trường Sơn praised achievements, including policy mobilisation and TB diagnosis, treatment, the programme has made.

Sơn asked the programme to draft a new strategy for TB prevention in the 2020-30 period, a directive and the National Action Plan on strengthening TB prevention in Việt Nam with a focus on successfully realising the National TB Prevention Programme’s goal of eliminating TB by 2030.

Sơn requested the programme to review legal regulations to amend the law on prevention and control of infectious diseases as well as reach further breakthroughs in communication, mobilising all levels of government and the community to participate in TB prevention.

The programme also is urged to prepare a plan of funding sources to ensure adequate TB drugs and medical supplies for tuberculosis patients in 2021 as well as a sustainable source, both in technical and financial terms for TB prevention in Việt Nam in the coming years. 

“Tuberculosis is the silent killer. Every year, the number of deaths from TB is much higher than that of traffic accidents. TB is an infectious disease, but it can be completely cured,” said the programme director Nguyễn Viết Nhung. 

“Việt Nam can realise the goal of eliminating tuberculosis by 2030 if TB prevention received proper investment, further attention and the cooperation from all levels, sectors and the whole community,” stressed Nhung.

Nhung said that Việt Nam has 174,000 TB patients and up to 13,000 deaths from TB yearly in all provinces and cities across the country. 

Statistics from the programme showed that every year, the country discovered and put into treatment more than 100,000 new TB cases, making up only 57 per cent of total new cases. It means that up to 43 per cent of new TB patients have not been detected in the community. 

The TB cure rate has been maintained at a high level, at more than 90 per cent of new TB patients, 75 per cent of Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) patients using long-term treatment plan and 80 per cent of MDR-TB patients using short-term treatment plan, according to the programme.

The programme has applied the world’s latest technologies, drugs and new approaches in TB prevention in Việt Nam, even in treatment of multi-drug resistant and super-resistant drugs. 

It has implemented a new strategy, called the "2X" (X-ray - Xpert), to proactively achieve higher detection results at seven times higher than the current passive detection method.  Diagnosed with TB, all patients will receive free TB treatment drugs for all forms of TB. — VNS

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