Vietnam ranks 12 th among 22 countries most burdened with tuberculosis (TB), heard a conference in Hanoi on March 20 to assess TB prevention in 2013.

Reports at the function said every year, Vietnam sees 130,000 new TB patients and 3,500 others suffering from multidrug-resistant TB. Some 18,000 people die of the disease in the country annually.

The World Health Organisation said TB is the second leading infectious cause of death while multidrug-resistant TB is present in almost all countries.

Dr. Nguyen Duc Chinh from the management board of the National Tuberculosis Programme said in 2013, the programme covered all communes nationwide, and up to 90.9 percent of new patients with sputum smears that tested positive for acid-fast bacilli were treated successfully.

Notably, the number of new patients has fallen in the past years, he added.

In 2014, the programme plans to further ensure people’s access to high-quality Directly Observed Treatment and Short Course (DOTS) services, and manage the situation of drug-resistant TB and patients infected with both TB and HIV.-VNA