Non-communicable diseases – leading cause of death in Vietnam hinh anh 1A medical worker gives examination to a man suffering from a stroke (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Vietnam Medicine Association and the Ministry of Health raised the fact that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are now a leading cause of death in Vietnam at the sixth National Scientific Conference in Hanoi on November 21.

Participants in the event focused on cardiovascular, respiratory and endocrine – diabetes, and nutrition.

Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said NCDs are a major cause of death and place disease and socio-economic burdens on Vietnam. To curb NCDs, the country issued a strategy for NCDs prevention and control and a national strategy for preventing cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic obstructive lung disease, bronchial asthma and other NCDs for 2011-2015. 

However, the rate of NCDs is still rising because of environmental pollution, urbanisation and unhealthy lifestyle, she noted.

Assoc. Prof. Dr Nguyen Thi Xuyen, Chairwoman of the Vietnam Medicine Association said in recent years, the country has been faced a growing burden of diseases and death caused by NCDs.

NCDs are currently a leading cause of death in Vietnam, Xuyen said, noting that seven of 10 deaths are caused by NCDs such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

The country records about 12 million people with high blood pressure, nearly 3 million with diabetes, two million with heart and chronic lung diseases, and nearly 120,000 people with cancer every year, accounting for two-thirds of total disease burden. NCDs cause 73 percent of all deaths each year, and up to 40 percent of the deaths are before the age of 70.

She noted although the health sector has made efforts to control NCDs, they are still growing at an alarming rate. She attributed the fact to people’s low awareness of disease prevention.

About 45 percent of men in the country smoke, and 77 percent of the population drink alcohol. Vietnamese people’s salt intake still doubles the WHO’s recommended level. Meanwhile, the rate of persons with high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular risks who are detected and receive treatment remains low, Xuyen added.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), NCDs are a big economic burden at present. They are forecast to result in total loss of 47 trillion USD around the world in the next two decades. -VNA