Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked healthcare centres and administrators at all levels to work harder to control outbreaks of hand-foot-mouth disease.

The request was made as Phuc attended the launch of a national campaign to fight the disease in the northern port city of Hai Phong on Mar. 2.

Hai Phong has recorded the highest number of human infections, with 848 cases per 100,000 people.

Phuc also ordered the city to raise public awareness on hygiene to help prevent the spread of the disease. Improving knowledge for healthcare workers and those working in child care to diagnosis the disease in its early stages was also necessary, he said.

In March and April the campaign will focus on households, mothers and carers of children under five years old, with measures set to be applied to curb the disease at schools and kindergartens.

Similar campaigns will be carried out nationwide, according to the Ministry of Health. The disease has already claimed the lives of nine children and struck 7,889 people in 60 cities and provinces in the first six weeks of 2012. Continued cold weather is forecast to lead to the threat of more outbreaks of the disease.-VNA