Vietnam provided with support to deal with hypertension and diabetes

Tuesday, 2018-07-17 17:36:49
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A local in Hoa Long commune, Bac Ninh city has her blood pressure checked at the commune health station. (Photo: syt.bacninh.gov.vn)
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NDO - Commune health stations in 11 localities across Vietnam will be provided with support to enhance their capacity in coping with hypertension and diabetes under a new project launched in Hanoi on July 17.

With technical and financial support from the Resolve to Save Lives Foundation, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Vietnam and the World Health Organisation (WHO) started the project to promote the management of hypertension and diabetes at commune health stations and provide communication on reducing salt intake. The Resolve to Save Lives Foundation will provide initial support to 11 provinces and cities to improve the capacity of their commune health stations in managing the two diseases.

Dr. Truong Dinh Bac, Deputy Head of the MoH’s Department of Preventive Medicine, said that it is estimated that Vietnam has 12 million hypertension patients, but only 43% have been diagnosed and just 14% of them receive treatment, while 56.9% have not been detected. With diabetes, Vietnam has more than 3 million cases, of which 31% have been detected and 29% are undergoing treatment, while the remaining 68.9% are undetected.

One of the main causes is the lack of preventive services, as well as the detection and management of non-communicable diseases at the commune level. Non-communicable diseases are mainly diagnosed and treated at the higher level. Only 12% of communes have managed hypertension, while almost do not manage diabetes. There is also a lack of mechanisms and policies on finance and health insurance to support the management of non-communicable disease at commune health stations, combined with limited capacity of health workers at the grassroots level.

Dr. Kidong Park, WHO Representative in Vietnam, said that hypertension and diabetes are two important causes of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of one third of all deaths in Vietnam each year. High salt consumption is a very important risk factor for hypertension, he added, saying that the average consumption of salt among Vietnamese people is 9.4g, almost double the recommended level of the WHO (below 5g/person/day).

Dr. Kidong Park, WHO Representative in Vietnam, speaks at the event. (Photo: NDO)

There is a huge treatment gap for hypertension and diabetes in Vietnam, as related services are almost unavailable at commune health stations, said Dr. Kidong Park.

Under the new project, the WHO and Resolve to Save Lives will support 11 localities with activities in capacity building and strengthening the implementation of hypertension and diabetes management in commune health stations, in combination with community-based salt reduction interventions. The project will be expanded to support ten more localities in the near future.

In order to reduce salt intake, Dr. Kidong Park said the WHO will assist Vietnamese partners to develop maximum salt recommendations in a number of prepared foods and conduct a media campaign on reducing salt intake to raise public awareness.

The preventive medicine sector has set a target to strengthen prevention, management and treatment of several non-communicable diseases at commune health stations, with immediate priority for the management of hypertension and diabetes. Accordingly, in 2018, 100% of clinics will be trained to manage hypertension and diabetes treatment. By 2019, at least 70% of clinics will manage hypertension treatment and 40% in diabetes management. By 2020, at least 40% of adults aged 40 and older will be given blood pressure monitors and diabetes risk assessments.