Vietnam is likely to face the spread of dangerous infectious diseases in 2015 such as Ebola, bird flu, hand-foot-and-mouth disease, and measles, especially in zones with large population fluctuations and ethnic minority areas, said Tran Dac Phu, Director of the Ministry of Health’s General Department of Preventive Medicine.

During a recent interview with a Vietnam News Agency correspondent, Phu stressed that the World Health Organisation is forecasting an outbreak of several common diseases, including tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV, as a result of drug resistance, frequent cross-border travel, climate change, and environmental pollution, among other factors. He also noted that Ebola has yet been controlled.

The Ministry has been proactively rolling out measures to address infection risks, focusing on tightening supervision to timely detect the first instances of disease and intensifying mass media communication efforts to raise public awareness of disease prevention and symptoms, Phu said.

He noted that major preventive measures will be deployed including preparations to ensure medicine, materials, modern equipment and technologies are equipped and available.

In 2014, Vietnam effectively minimised infectious disease risk, as evidenced by successfully preventing Ebola, MerS-CoV, bubonic plague, and virus strain A/ H7N9 from entering the country, as well as experiencing a remarkable decrease in the number of infections and deaths related to A/H1N1 avian influenza, dengue, hand-foot-and-mouth disease, malaria, and rabies, Phu reported.

However, the country experienced a surge in measles patients and fatalities, likely a result of low vaccine coverage in the community, he noted.

The director underscored the need for the involvement of all-level authorities and the entire community in disease prevention, while simultaneously conducting broad coverage campaigns to popularise proactive disease prevention methods.

The State should enact support policies to help enhance the capacity of the national health sector, with special focus on the preventive health system, to best prepare for any impending risk.-VNA