Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien (purple shirt) inspects measles vaccine injection (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien has asked hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City to detect, classify and isolate patients with measles, dengue fever or hand-foot-mouth (HFM) disease to avoid cross-contamination.

Tien made the request at the launching ceremony of a campaign in HCM City on October 12 to prevent possible outbreaks during the peak season for these infections. The campaign, jointly kicked off by the Ministry of Health and the municipal People’s Committee, aims to mobilise the entire healthcare system and community.

The minister called on local hospitals to strengthen preventive measures to control the spread of disease. She also asked media to provide information about preventive measures to raise awareness about those diseases among the community.

The campaign is urging everyone to wash their hands regularly with water and soap, disinfect homes, schools and public playgrounds, and get vaccinations against measles.

Authorised agencies should closely monitor the situation in schools and take steps to prevent the spread of dengue fever, Tien said.

With a high population density and many migrant workers, the city has favourable conditions for the development of many infectious diseases.

Hospitals in the city regularly receive many severe cases from neighbouring provinces.

About 40-50 percent of all infections at Pediatrics Hospital 1, Pediatrics Hospital 2, HCM City Pediatrics Hospital and HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases are from neighbouring provinces.

In the first nine months of the year, HFM disease and dengue fever have a significant decrease in the number of cases in the city. The city recorded 3,678 in-patient cases and 14,714 out-patient cases of HFM, with a decrease of 21 percent compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the number of dengue fever cases fell 14 percent against the same period last year, with 13,127 in-patient cases and 8,106 out-patient cases.

The city has recorded 143 fever and rash cases, with 46 of those testing positive for measles. Its health sector is expanding the use of geographic information system (GIS) technology for disease surveillance. Currently, measles vaccines are being offered free for children born in 2016 and 2017 in the city.

The city is also offering free measles-rubella combination vaccines for children aged three to five. It is home to 319 medical stations, 13 hospitals and more than 100 vaccination facilities.-VNA