Representatives of the Medical Services Administration under the Ministry of Health and AstraZeneca signed the second phase of the "Vietnam Healthy Lung" programme for 2021-2023 in Hanoi on November 17. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnamese patients with respiratory problems, especially lung cancer, will benefit from the second phase of the "Vietnam Healthy Lung" programme in 2021-23 that was signed between the health ministry’s Medical Services Administration (MSA) and AstraZeneca on November 16.

Following the success of the Vietnam Healthy Lung programme in 2017-20 with the aim of improving the quality of outpatient management of asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), the programme’s phase two will continue to improve capacity of diagnosis, quality of treatment, care and management of the asthma and COPD and expand into a new field of lung cancer.

Luong Ngoc Khue, Director of Department of Medical Examination and Treatment under the Ministry of Health, said at the event: “In the first phase during 2017-20, the Vietnam Healthy Lung programme has implemented comprehensive solutions in control of asthma and COPD in Vietnam. Therefore, maintaining and promoting the effectiveness of these solutions more widely across the country in the next period of 2021-2023 is very important to ensure patients' long-term and sustainable benefits.” 

In addition, Khue said, expanding the programme into the field of lung cancer would help patients access quality services in diagnosis, treatment and disease management as well as improve the quality of management of respiratory diseases and lung cancer, especially amid COVID-19.

In the next three years, the programme will focus on raising public awareness of asthma, COPD and lung cancer for increasing screening and detection rates; increasing access to quality health services in terms of examination, diagnosis, treatment and disease management.

It will also help training of health professionals and support the establishment of centres for asthma and COPD patients and centres for standardised clinical practice on lung cancer diagnosis and treatment.

The "For Healthy Lungs" programme is AstraZeneca's multinational initiative to improve the quality of outpatient management of asthma and EP in nine Asian countries, in which Vietnam was the first country to implement the programme since 2017.

In the first phase, the programme contributed to solving the current challenges in managing asthma and COPD by contributing to the development of the criterion “Asthma and EPU management units” applied as a pilot in the Vietnam Healthy Lung programme in Vietnam in the 2017-20 period.

It supported establishment and enhanced capacity for 110 asthma and COPD management units, helping more than 101,364 patients access better treatment. More than 4,820 people at risk of respiratory disease were screened and educational programmes on how to control asthma and COPD were provided for more than 11,515 patients. In addition, the programme also organised training to update medical knowledge for 8,200 health workers.

It is estimated that over 4.2 percent of Vietnam’s population suffers from COPD. It is worrying that most of them are not currently diagnosed due to a lack of medical facilities, poor awareness of patients and limitations in the professional skills of public health, according to the health ministry.

Vietnam each year reported about 23,667 new lung cancer cases and 20,170 deaths. Most people with cancer in the country visit hospitals for medical examination and treatment in a late stage, making treatment difficult and creating a huge financial burden on patients./.