A meeting was held in Hanoi on March 24 by the city’s Department of Health to promote public involvement in the fight against tuberculosis (TB).

During the meeting - which was organised in a hospital as part of the country’s response to World TB Day - Director of the department Nguyen Khac Hien raised the significance of TB prevention work, especially multidrug-resistant TB treatment.

The ministry has called for people from all strata to actively engage in the field and help tuberculosis sufferers integrate into the community.

Latest statistics from the municipal anti-TB programme show that Hanoi diagnoses over 5,000 TB patients on an annual basis, half of whom suffer from pulmonary tuberculosis.

However, more than 90 percent of the TB patients have been treated successfully under the programme as a result of the DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment, Short-Course) strategy.

Notably since 2011, the municipal health sector has provided treatment for nearly 200 multidrug-resistant TB patients with encouraging outcomes.

Since 2008, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has helped the capital carry out the Public-Private Mix (PPM) project calling for the involvement of all health care providers in the provision of TB care.

The city is currently housing 38 hospitals and 335 surgeries as a result of the six-year-old PPM project, examining 5,063 people with suspected tuberculosis and detecting 535 cases of the disease.

According to the World Health Organisation, Vietnam ranks 12th among the 22 countries most burdened with TB, with some 130,000 new patients, 3,500 sufferers of multidrug-resistant TB, and 18,000 deaths annually.

Under the national TB prevention strategy until 2020 (with a vision to 2030) recently approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Vietnam is looking to control TB levels at below 20 patients for every 100,000 people by 2030 on the road to eventually eliminating the disease.-VNA