Government aims to improve border health checks hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Communicable diseases from around the world could enter Vietnam and spread easily if the country does not improve prevention and control, said Tran Dac Phu, Director of the Ministry of Health’s Preventive Medicine Department.

The health official attended a February 15 meeting on preventive medicine for northern provinces, and warned that international trade, tourism and labour exchange, in addition to increased urbanisation, climate change and drug resistance exposed a greater number of people to communicable diseases.

Phu said that Vietnam is still seeing cases of vaccine-preventable diseases, mostly because of the modest vaccination rate in some localities, or poor environmental and personal hygiene.

He said that this year, the health sector will continue strengthening regular health monitoring at border gates and health centres in order to better detect diseases, report them promptly, and take action before a disease has the chance to spread in Vietnam.

Diseases like flu, dengue fever, hand-foot-mouth disease, Japanese encephalitis or Zika will be monitored closely.

The Director of the Preventive Medicine Department also said that this year, the Health Ministry planned to improve Emergency Operations Centres (EOC) at major hospitals and Pasteur institutes. Additional EOCs will be built in provinces nationwide. The centres are expected to connect the health ministry to domestic and international partners in response to public health emergencies of international concern, preventing them from spreading.

The ministry this year will carry out a project on increasing the capacity of communicable disease testing.

It is also taking measures to increase the vaccination rate to at least 95 percent at districts and 90 percent at wards/communes.

An official from the Health Ministry’s Medical Treatment Department Nguyen Duc Tien said that the department is taking actions to reduce deaths caused by communicable diseases.

For example, people with dengue fever are sent to hospitals’ departments of Communicable Disease, Pediatrics or Internal Medicine.

Improper treatment and unsafe transfers from hospital to hospital could be reported, and health officers at higher levels would provide feedback with proper instructions.

Tien said that this year, the ministry continues boosting its monitoring and support to hospitals, especially private ones in treating dengue fever in the southern region.
Every hospital in the south was required to set a group specialising in dengue fever. 

According to the Ministry of Health’s Preventive Medicine Department, nearly 11,880 cases of dengue fever were reported in Vietnam last year, resulting in 36 deaths. The number of cases was 19 percent higher than that of 2015, but the number of deaths reduced from 54.

Last year also saw more than 45,000 cases of hand-foot-mouth disease, causing one death. The number of cases was a reduction of 19.3 percent compared with 2015. The number of deaths reduced from six. The department warns that the period from March to May is usually the peak time for hand-foot-mouth disease. In the year so far, 2,100 cases of the disease have been reported in 57 cities and provinces nationwide.

219 cases of the Zika virus were in Vietnam last year and 13 cases this year. The majority of cases were reported in HCM City.-VNA