Community urged to join efforts to eliminate TB by 2030 hinh anh 1A doctor gives check-up to a TB patient (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – A national teleconference in Hanoi on March 24 called on the public to work harder to turn the peril of the COVID-19 pandemic into an opportunity for Vietnam for eradicating tuberculosis (TB) by 2030.

The event, held in response to the World TB Day (March 24), was attended by representatives of ministries, sectors, domestic and international organisations and all the 63 central-level localities.

Director of the National Lung Hospital Nguyen Viet Nhung, who also chairs the national anti-TB programme, said this year’s activity appeals to all people who have engaged in the COVID-19 fight to join hands more actively in the TB prevention and control.

He stressed TB is a “silent killer”, noting that TB bacteria transmits more easily than SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, since with the size of less than 5 micrometres, it can spread by air and adapt to harsh environmental conditions in a long period of time.

The number of TB fatalities each year is even much higher than those caused by traffic accidents, he said, noting that most of the TB deaths are the result of late detection and treatment.

Communications activities should also be promoted so that the public understand that TB is not as frightening as they thought, he added.

In Vietnam, more than 100,000 TB patients are diagnosed and sent for treatment annually.

The recovery rate is more than 90 percent of new patients, 75 percent of multidrug-resistant TB patients using long-term treatment regimens, and 80 percent of multidrug-resistant TB patients using short-term treatment regimens.

New technologies, drugs and treatment approaches from around the world have been applied in Vietnam and proved highly effective, even for multidrug-resistant TB and super extensively multidrug-resistant TB patients. Those who are diagnosed with TB will receive free drugs, according to the expert.

Around the world, TB is the second leading cause of death among infectious diseases with 10 million new patients and nearly 1.5 million deaths annually.

Vietnam is still among the 30 countries with the highest prevalence of TB and multidrug-resistant TB in the world./.