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National Tuberculosis Programme partners with USAID to redouble efforts to end TB in VN

Update: December, 15/2020 - 16:00


A nurse attends to a tuberculosis patient. — VNA/VNS Photo 

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam National TB Programme (NTP) and USAID on Tuesday expanded the Ministry of Health/NTP’s “Double X” Strategy for tuberculosis (TB) case identification in a bid to wipe out this respiratory disease in Việt Nam by 2030.

Double X is a new strategy to diagnose TB using chest X-rays and GeneXpert, a diagnostic method that detects TB bacteria.

At an event entitled “Health Partnerships to End TB in Việt Nam - Applying the “Double X” Strategy held Tuesday in Hà Nội, participants shared key achievements and lessons in implementing the Strategy, including key achievements of the NTP toward TB goals; outcomes from USAID Sustainable HIV and TB Responses from Technical Assistance (SHIFT) activity on the Double-X Strategy in seven provinces in Việt Nam, experiences from provincial TB programmes; and multi-faceted TB strategies using Double X from international organisations.

Việt Nam ranks 11th among the 30 countries that account for nearly 90 per cent of the world’s TB burden. It is also one of the most common communicable diseases in the country.

Each year, it is estimated that 170,000 people become sick from TB in Việt Nam, but only around 100,000 are accounted for in the National TB system, leaving around 50,000 community TB cases undiagnosed, and the remaining 20,000 diagnosed but not reported.

Deputy Minister of Health Đỗ Xuân Tuyên said the country has made encouraging achievements in the fight against TB, especially the fact that it could successfully treat 92 per cent of first-time TB patients, 75-80 per cent of the patients with multidrug resistant TB with short-term treatment while the global figure is about 56 per cent.

The number of TB patients is on a gradual downtrend, with a decline of only 4 per cent a year, according to Tuyên, who said the national programme should maximise the use of existing tools in diagnosing and treating TB with universal health insurance; while at the same time, expanding the application of new identification tools, new drugs and vaccines, with the help of partners both in and outside the country.

Professor Nguyễn Viết Nhung, Chair of the national programme on fighting TB, said just like COVID-19, TB infection incidents need to be detected as soon as possible so risks of transmission in the community are reduced and the hospitalisation for the patients themselves would be shorter.

Ending the TB epidemic in Việt Nam will require intensive effort. The USAID SHIFT project’s partnership with the NTP has piloted the comprehensive Double X Strategy in health facilities and communities in 18 districts in seven provinces (Thái Bình, Nghệ An, An Giang, Cần Thơ, Đồng Nai, Tây Ninh, and Tiền Giang).

Double X will be further scaled up to 25 provinces in December 2020. Sites for implementation will include provincial hospitals (lung hospitals, general hospitals) as well as district health centres and general hospitals. — VNS



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