The Prime Minister has just approved the National Strategy for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) for 2015-2020.

The general objective is to prevent and control cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma .

It aims to manage the progression of the diseases, contributing to protecting, caring for and enhancing health quality and socio-economic development.

By 2025, roughly 70 percent of the adult population is expected to be aware of NCDs and their impact on public health and the nation’s socio-economic development as well as prevention methods.

Other targets include reducing 30 percent of tobacco use and 10 percent of harmful alcohol use among adults in 2015 and bringing the rate of diabetes to below eight percent among people aged 30-69.

In order to realise the targets for the prevention and control of NCDs, the strategy points to measures to strengthen the enforcement of legal frameworks and relevant policies to control risk factors while encouraging healthier choices.

Publicity campaigns are needed to raise individual and population awareness and understanding of NCDs.

The strategy highlights the need to improve skills and expertise in treating the diseases while expanding NCD-related healthcare services at businesses and schools.

Preventive services should also be enhanced to control risk determinants and detect pre-NCDs symptoms.

Non-communicable diseases—such as high-blood pressure, pulmonary disease, asthma, diabetes and cancer—account for two-thirds of the total disease incidence and health-related mortality in Vietnam.

Vietnam currently has 12.5 million nationals with high blood pressure, 2.5 million diabetics and more than 2 million others suffering from COPD and asthma.

About 125,000 new cases of cancer are detected every year, according to the Ministry of Health’s Preventive Medicine Department.

In 2012, there were 520,000 health-related deaths including more than 379,000 caused by NCDs, mostly cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and COPD. Put another way, seven in every 10 health-related deaths were from non-infectious diseases. Major contributing factors include smoking, alcohol abuse, unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical activity.

NCD treatment can cost 40-50 times more than communicable disease treatment, requiring advanced technology, expensive medicine and prolonged treatment.-VNA