Experts discuss the importance of comprehensive management of respiratory diseases in adults and children at a medical forum held last weekend in HCM City (Photo courtesy of the representative office of GSK in Vietnam)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) - The healthcare sector is adapting to new medical trends to meet higher public expectations for healthcare quality, the head of the Ministry of Health's Preventive Medicine Department Tran Dac Phu said.

The health official said the sector had seen remarkable progress in raising people’s health awareness, but most Vietnamese still "prefer self-diagnosis and self-treatment using Google."

"They would rather buy medicine without prescriptions at drugstores and not comply with doctors’ prescriptions," Phu said at a medical forum on respiratory diseases held recently in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

At the forum, experts discussed the importance of combining prevention and treatment in the comprehensive management of respiratory diseases in adults and children.

This is especially important amid the complexity of antibiotic resistance, the recurrence of epidemics in children, and the increasing rate of chronic diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), they said.

Also discussed were treatment of community-acquired respiratory tract infections based on microbiology and clinical pharmacology, and proper use of antibiotics to prevent antimicrobial resistance.

The evidence-based treatment method for ear, nose and throat infections to minimise antibiotic resistance was also cited as important.

Management and control of chronic diseases like asthma and COPD and an immunisation programme to prevent respiratory infections are also essential in the treatment and prevention of respiratory disease.

At the event, experts noted that pollution, unhealthy diets and lifestyles, and a lack of physical exercise among Vietnamese were contributing to a higher incidence of disease, especially respiratory ailments.

Vietnamese tend to visit doctors when their condition already deteriorates, making treatment more difficult, they said.

In addition, patients fail to comply with their doctors’ instructions, regularly skipping doses whey they begin to feel better. This increases antibiotic resistance, or results in serious complications afterwards.

The burden of disease is substantial for children from birth to two years old. At this age, most children are hospitalised for acute respiratory diseases.

Their immature immune systems are vulnerable to bacterial attacks, which results in serious complications and even mortality.

To cope with these challenges, experts suggest three solutions, including a consensus among health workers across medical fields on proper prescriptions and use of antibiotics.

Patients should be educated about the importance of adherence to antibiotic treatment for community-acquired respiratory tract diseases and compliance with preventive treatment for chronic diseases like asthma and COPD to avoid subsequent hospitalisation.

Early immunisation for vaccine-preventable diseases to protect children from common and dangerous respiratory diseases like whooping cough, pneumococcal pneumonia and other infectious diseases should be encouraged.

The forum was conducted through a live webcast available in more than 20 cities and provinces nationwide.

It was coorganised by the Vietnam Respiratory Society, Vietnam Pediatrics Association, Vietnam Association of Preventive Medicine, HCM City Pasteur Institute, HCM City Respiratory Association, HCM City ENT Association, and the representative office of GSK in Vietnam.

GSK is one of the world’s leading science-based healthcare and pharmaceutical companies.-VNS/VNA