Nearly 21,000 people suffering from schizophrenia and epilepsy across the country have been detected and received treatment in 2013.

The information was reported by the Ministry of Public Health at a conference in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on April 3 to review the implementation of a project to prevent unsafe diseases in the community and protect mental health in the country last year.

La Duc Cuong, head of the management board of the project, said the programme has been carried out nationwide since 1999, resulting in 70 percent of mentally ill patients and sufferers of epilepsy being managed and treated.

The 13-year-long project proved effective as it saw a yearly rise in the number of mental health patients integrating into the community without requiring hospitalisation.

The number of people suffering from mental diseases is on the increase due to the pressures of modern life, while the country has only 34 mental health hospitals and centres, with 31 provinces without any centres specialising in such illnesses.

According to the ministry, the project will continue in 200-300 communes and wards throughout the country in 2014.

In addition, the quality of healthcare services in the field will also be intensified to contribute to ensuring public order and safety.-VNA