Dr Payam Nahid, a world expert on pulmonary diseases, was awarded Honorary Citizenship by the Hanoi People’s Committee on March 18, in recognition of his tireless work to develop Vietnam’s National Tuberculosis (TB) Control Programme.

The American specialist was granted the award as part of the city’s programme marking World TB Day on March 24.

Dr Nahid is an Associate Professor in the Division of Pulmonary Critical Care Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in the US. He also serves as Director of the Chest and High Risk Asthma Clinic and is an attending physician for the Pulmonary Consultation Service and the Intensive Care Units at San Francisco General Hospital.

The doctor has spent years designing a network of TB clinical trials between the Hanoi Hospital of Lung Disease (HHLD), seven medical centres and TB control teams in local districts and communes.

The HHLD and TB control teams have been provided advanced medical equipment at a total fund of 300,000 USD.

According to Dr Nahid, the UCSF and the University of California (UC Berkley) have been conducting major field studies in TB control in Vietnam, in partnership with the National TB Control Programme, the Vietnam National Lung Hospital, the HHLD, the Vietnam National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) and the Hanoi Department of Health.

In 2015, the third phase of clinical trials in TB therapeutics will be undertaken to re-assess TB treatment guidelines, enabling a reduced duration for TB treatment, Nahid said.

Two experts from UC Berkley will also experiment with new TB detection practices using iPad-enabled microscope cameras in far-flung areas.

Meanwhile, the University of Stanford has worked with the NIHE to employ new molecular biology testing for TB diagnosis and surveillance, instead of traditional forms of testing. The results of the new method will be evaluated this year, he added.

Dr Nahid revealed that tuberculosis is the world’s top killer. As many as 52 passenger aircrafts could be filled with patients who die of the disease every year.

TB is the second leading cause of mortality in people with infectious diseases in Vietnam, where more than 100,000 new TB patients and 17,000 deaths are recorded every year.-VNA