A national anti-TB action month has been launched in response to World Tuberculosis Day (March 24), Director of the National Lung Hospital Dr Dinh Ngoc Sy said on March 6.

Sy said the campaign aims to attract the community’s involvement in TB prevention, increase authorities’ commitments and investment for the work and raise people’s understanding, while eliminating discrimination against TB patients.

He said during the month in March, the National TB Prevention Programme will coordinate with Vietnam Red Cross Society, the Ministry of Information and Communications, the World Health Organisation and Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union to organise a meeting and a walk in Hanoi and a writing contest on TB, as well as release a collection of stamps on the theme.

Vietnam ranks 12th out of 22 countries with a high TB burden and ranks 14th out of 27 countries with the highest incidence of multidrug-resistant TB in the world. Annually, 200,000 Vietnamese people are infected with TB and almost 30,000 die from the disease. At the same time, the National TB Prevention Programme cures 92 percent of the patients it treats.

According to Dr Sy, the biggest challenge of the programme is the increasing number of cases of HIV/TB infection and multidrug-resistant TB. However, by 2015, Vietnam strives to cut by half of the number of TB patients from the 2000 estimates and totally eradicate the disease in the community by 2030.

This year, the World TB Day takes the theme of “Stop TB in my lifetime”./.