The Health Ministry held a conference in Hanoi on December 19 to review 25 years of the immunisation programme which helped the country build a vaccination network extending from central to grassroots levels, and inoculating 90 percent of children aged under 12-months.

Fatalities of children under 5-years-old have fallen considerably. Vietnam eradicated polio and tetanus in 2000 and 2005, respectively. And the country is moving towards wiping out measles.

Since 2006, there have been no whooping cough fatalities, and all healthcare staff hold qualifications in vaccination safety.

However, the programme still faces challenges, including a shortage of medical staff majoring in immunisation, inadequate vaccine supply in some localities, reduced funds and declining international aid, as well as poor public awareness of the importance of vaccination.

Speaking at the event, President Truong Tan Sang said that the healthcare sector needs to devise a plan for domestic vaccine production, guarantee supply, and export vaccines Vietnam is strong in.

At the same time, the sector must improve the quality of preventive medical care to meet national construction and defence demand, he added.

Earlier, Sang visited a preventive medical care centre in Hanoi ’s outlying district of Tu Liem. He was informed of its recent achievements in improving social welfare and the quality of life in the area.-VNA