Vietnam sees strong progress in epidemic prevention, control hinh anh 1Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien inspects disease prevention in a hospital (Source: VNA)
Vietnam has made significant progress in epidemic prevention and control over the past seven decades with many important achievements, stated Associate Professor Dr. Tran Dac Phu, Head of the Health Ministry’s Department of Preventive Medicine. 

The country has made outstanding attainments in the last 30 years thanks to the development of science, the advancement of vaccines, improved socio-economic conditions and raised intellectual standards, he said. 

Currently, Vietnam has had sufficient capacity to monitor, detect and diagnose diseases as well as respond to epidemics timely, he said. 

Dr. Phu noted that Vietnam eliminated smallpox in 1978, paralytics in 2000, tetanus in 2005 and bubonic plague in 2002. 

The country has also successfully prevented outbreaks of other dangerous diseases including dengue fever, encephalitis, tuberculosis and cholera, as well as other globally emerging diseases, he added. 

Vietnam was one of the first countries to successfully control SARS, avian influenza H5N1, swine flu H1N1, Ebola and Mers-CoV, noted Dr. Phu. 

Dr. Phu said that major difficulties facing the country in epidemic prevention have transitioned from poor conditions in both medical equipment and human resources to the risks of new dangerous diseases such as SARS, H5N1, H1N1, H7N7, Ebola and Mers-CoV entering the nation. 

He also pointed to the need to meet increasing community demand. 

In that context, future directions for the prevention and control of epidemic should focus more on preventive healthcare by investing more strongly in the work, said Dr. Phu. 

He underlined that preventive medicine should focus on not only dealing with contagious but also non-contagious diseases. Improved disease prevention will limit the number of hospitalised people, thus easing overload and ensuring health security, he added. 

Looking forward, the preventive medical system should be upgraded and modernised at both central and local levels, he stressed, pointing to the need to increase the capacity to rapidly and effectively respond to and control epidemics from border gates and in the community. 

Meanwhile, the health care sector will also intensify vaccination programmes, especially in mountainous and remote areas, he said. 

To that end, it is crucial to invest in both equipment and human resources for preventive medicine, he held, adding that it is necessary to renovate the allocation and use of funding for preventive medicine as well as international cooperation in the field. 

Dr. Phu said Vietnam has involved in regional and international efforts to prevent and control diseases which has been hailed by the global community. 

Vietnam has actively taken part in ASEAN’s organisations for epidemic prevention. This year, Vietnam is acting as head of the executive committee for the field epidemiology training network held by ASEAN+3, he noted. 

Last year, the country also joined the global health security cooperation programme with strong commitment to act as one of the pioneer countries in fostering activities to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans. 

With strong international collaboration in preventing epidemics, Vietnam has also been one of the leading countries in the field regionally and internationally, Dr. Phu concluded.-VNA