The Ministry of Health recently designed a draft programme calling for public engagement in epidemic prevention amidst complicated disease developments in Vietnam, especially the possible appearance of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV).

Reports at a workshop held in Hanoi on June 4 revealed that though Vietnam has successfully prevented emerging epidemics such as Ebola, A/H7N9 and MERS-CoV, it has still seen cases of and mortalities from prevalent diseases like dengue fever, hand-foot-mouth, malaria, rabies and encephalitis.

Disease prevention still faces an array of difficulties due to the rapid spread of emerging diseases, the increase of trading and travelling activities and the local hot and humid climate.

Poor community awareness of personal and environmental hygiene and food safety further complicate disease prevention, as heard at the workshop.

Director of the ministry’s Preventive Medicine Department Tran Dac Phu said the newly designed programme is meant to mobilise societal participation from State agencies, domestic and foreign organisations, businesses, to individuals in epidemic prevention.

Accordingly, all communes, wards and residential areas nationwide are expected to implement this programme and over 80 percent of households will follow prevention recommendations, he noted, adding that at least 95 percent of schools are hoped to effectively apply the national technical standards on preventing infectious diseases at educational establishments.

This programme will be implemented in association with civilised lifestyle building movements while pushing communication activities to raise public awareness, Phu said.

At the workshop, attendees discussed ways to optimise coordination among parties in the programme and put forth concrete proposals for the draft content.-VNA