The policy dialogue to discuss the acceleration of action on tuberculosis and multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis in the APEC region takes place on August 22 (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – The APEC Health Working Group (HWG) held a policy dialogue on August 22 to discuss the acceleration of action on tuberculosis (TB) and multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in the region.

The dialogue was part of the third APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM 3) and related meetings in Ho Chi Minh City.

More than 100 participants included representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Stop TB Partnership, the Global TB Caucus, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and the APEC economies.

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Health Pham Le Tuan stressed his country has gained a number of positive outcomes in TB prevention and control over the last decades. It is one of the nine economies achieving the three main targets of TB infection minimisation and also among the three economies that have effectively implemented the WHO’s End TB Strategy.

Vietnam’s top priority at present is to early detect all TB infections and cure them so as to prevent transmission, he noted.

He said the policy dialogue, an initiative of Vietnam with coordination from other APEC economies and the WHO support, aimed to devise a breakthrough strategy and build a common responsibility framework to eradicate TB in the APEC region.

Diana E.C Weil, a coordinator of the Policy, Strategy and Innovations Unit of the WHO Global TB Programme, highly valued Vietnam’s efforts in the TB fight, adding that the country has become one of the pioneer members in carrying out the WHO’s End TB Strategy.

She said TB is a global threat as one-third of the global population can contract TB and about 10 percent of the infected people will carry the disease for their whole life.

At the dialogue, delegates discussed cooperation and integration opportunities in TB prevention and control. They also submitted important recommendations to call on policy makers, leaders of Governments and the health sector in the APEC economies to pay more attention to TB.-VNA