Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – A workshop was held in Hanoi on May 22 to gather ideas for the building of a national action plan to eliminate the transmission of HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis from mothers to children.

Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien noted that the transmission of these diseases from mother to child causes many consequences, greatly affecting the health of mothers and children, stressing the ministry’s determination to complete the goals of erasing mother-to-child transmission of these diseases.

He said that pregnant women lack access to health services in remote, border and island areas, creating a major challenge for the national programme to eliminate the diseases.

The Ministry of Health’s Maternal and Child Health Department reported that the rate of HIV infection among the country’s two million pregnant women every year is 0.25 percent.

At the same time, Vietnam is one of the countries with the highest prevalence of hepatitis B virus in the world, at 10-20 percent. Therefore, the prevalence of hepatitis B virus among pregnant women is also high.

According to the Central Dermatology Hospital’s latest report, the incidence of congenital syphilis in newborns is on the rise.

A draft on the National Action Plan to eliminate the transmission of HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis from mothers to children in the 2018-2030 period has been completed by the Ministry of Health.

The plan will focus on key solutions: strengthening communication and finance, innovating new methods of treatment and enhancing the quality of health services such as screening, diagnosis, care and treatment for mothers and children.

At the workshop, participants discussed issues such as antenatal care and pre-testing for disease discovery, interventions for pregnant women, mother-to-child transmission, funding for the implementation of the plan, inter-sector coordination and monitoring.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), in the western Pacific Region, every year, about 180,000 people are infected with hepatitis B, 13,000 children are infected with syphilis and 1,400 children are infected with HIV.

These diseases can be prevented through simple and accessible interventions, including pre-testing for pregnant women and vaccination of infants after birth.

Participants at the workshop agreed that in Vietnam, there is a lack of coordination among medical service providers such as clinics, hospitals and grass-roots health centres. This restricts mothers and infants from accessing advanced medical services and limits the effectiveness of medical intervention.

WHO has developed a framework for the elimination of HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis from mothers to children in the Asia-Pacific region for the 2018-2030 period and recommended member states develop national action plans to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of the three diseases by 2030.-VNA