While there were few new cases of tuberculosis in Hanoi last year, a strain of the disease resistant to a variety of drugs had complicated treatment, health experts said at a recent conference.

The March 23 conference was held to mark World Tuberculosis Day, which fell on March 24.

Every year about 5,000 new cases of the disease are reported in Hanoi. Ninety percent of them are eventually cured.

However, Pham Huu Thuong, Director of the Hanoi Lung Hospital, said that every year, 60 to 80 patients were difficult to cure because of multidrug- resistance TB.

Thuong said that resistance was caused by patients not obeying doctors advice during treatment, low-quality medicine - and sudden changes in TB genes.

"Most TB patients are poor and rarely access multimedia, so they are not aware of how to prevent the disease from spreading," said Thuong.

The treatment period was often long, at least 19 months, so it strongly affected patients' lives.

Since 2011, Hanoi Lung Hospital has given pilot treatment to 260 hard-to-heal patients based on a national programme for TB control.

"Initial results showed that multidrug-resistance TB bacteria and treatment expenses decreased," said Thuong.

In future, the Lung Hospital and the Ha Dong TB and Lung Diseases Prevention and Control Centre, which are responsible for supervising the disease in Hanoi, will join hand with all hospitals to apply new technology.

People living with HIV must receive early health checks to discover the disease in time.

More training will be given for medical workers, especially those at commune medical stations.

Vietnam now ranks 12th in a list of 22 countries with high rates of TB. It ranks 14th out of 27 countries with a high rate of multi-drug-resistance TB.-VNA