The National Tuberculosis Control Programme (NTP) aims to reduce the TB incidence rate to 187 per 100,000 people and the fatality rate to below 18 per 100,000 in 2015, based on its encouraging outcomes in the previous year.

This year, all TB patients are expected to have access to standard treatment methods and receive sufficient and high-quality medicine, Director of the National Lung Hospital and Head of the NTP Nguyen Viet Nhung said in an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency.

The programme also strives to control the rate of multidrug-resistant TB patients to fewer than 5 percent of the total newly-detected cases, while increasing the application of modern diagnosis and treatment technology and improving the qualifications of health workers, he said.

In 2014, the national campaign was carried out nationwide, discovering over 102,000 TB sufferers.

The TB prevention network was developed in 36 underprivileged districts of nine provinces, Quang Binh, Ha Tinh, Hoa Binh, Bac Giang, Nam Dinh, Nghe An, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai and Gia Lai.

Currently, 44 out of the 63 cities and provinces across the country have established tuberculosis and lung hospitals.

The Vietnamese Government also approved the TB prevention strategy through 2020, Nhung said.

As a result, 29 cities and provinces created steering committees for implementing the national TB strategy in January 2015.

The Global Fund also pledged an aid package of 42 million USD for the national TB prevention strategy between 2015 and 2017.

The broadened application of the GeneXpert technology has helped Vietnam to become one of the five countries around the world to successfully treat over 70 percent of the multidrug-resistant TB patients.

The Government and the Ministry of Health provided 75 billion VND (3.5 million USD) to ensure TB medicine supply in 2014. The World Health Organisation (WHO) will support this with medicine, including the US trial drugs Bedaquiline and Japanese Delamanid which have shown initial effective results in comparison with the current standard treatment methods.

According to the WHO, tuberculosis is the second leading infectious cause of death while multidrug-resistant TB is present in almost all countries around the world.-VNA